Basic Corvair College Skills, examples of learning

Friends,

There are countless techniques and lessons we teach by example and hands on training at the Colleges. Here I would like to focus on four tasks that every builder should know as part of having  complete mastery of his or her engine. These four skills are 1) Installing and timing a distributor, 2) Running and correctly interpreting a differential compression test and 3) Correctly setting the hydraulic valve lifters. 4) pre-oiling the engine.

At the college I will teach these tasks to many groups of builders 5 or 6 people to a group. Part of my learning process it to immediately have builders repeat the process they just observed so I can answer their questions and closely watch how they do to make sure they understand and have possession of the skill. The tasks are not difficult, but the are different. 85% of our builders are from outside the mechanical world. This is an important distinction. My useful definition of working in the mechanical world is simple; Do you pick up hand tools at work nearly every day on the job? The vast majority of homebuilders do not, and I adjust the learning process to accommodate this reality and give many more builders a much better understanding of their power plant.

I am a middle-aged, long-haired opinionated troglodyte from rural Florida. If I had to earn a living at any task that involved appearance, political correctness or tolerance of intolerable people, I would live in poverty. If I was also required to have IT skills at these tasks, I would starve. My hat is off to our builders who can thrive at such tasks, you are better men than I. This said, my record says that on the subject of being able to teach people how to master simple aircraft engines, even people from outside the mechanical world, I am pretty darn good.

There are a number of factors on why I am good at this. I like people, and I like learning myself. I spent 11 years of my life in college, 8 years full-time and 3 in night school. (This is really ironic because I was expelled from high school on the grounds of poor attendance) I know and love the subject at hand well, and I have honed the transfer of information over 20 years. All of us had teachers who gave the same lecture if there was 50 people 5 people or 2 sacks of potatoes for students. I learned from many very good instructors, and the best always tailor the delivery to the student. After many years I am a keen observer of people learning, and I watch small signals like body language to instantly recalibrate the delivery until message sent=message understood. I may not always look like it, but I am paying detailed attention to builders at colleges. A big College may have 75 builders, and in the 3 days we are there, I am going to adjust the process and delivery to tailor it to each of these 75 individuals.

A guy who works with tools every day on the job and is constantly exposed to having to master a physical skill or understand how a mechanical sub system works often picks up something like distributor installation on a simple presentation and observation. People who work at desk jobs or cover non-mechanical subjects for a living gain a lot from directly repeating the task step by step right after observing it. The flexible lay out of the college allows both of these builders to learn at their own pace, at the same time. The primary thing I am watching is that the builder is comprehending and performing the task correctly. Good delivery is important, and the setting is casual, but I don’t just assume that people got it. I ask people to perform the task, and then I will often ask them to show it and explain it themselves to another builder. This is the best confirmation that they have real possession of the skill.

I am writing up notes for the four tasks, something of a checklist for people to have on hand at the college. I will expand on these here after we return. For now, some source notes:

1) Install and time a distributor. This is already documented very well in print and pictures, but I do go over it many times in person. I do not allow a builder with a complete engine to leave the College without being able to demonstrate to me that he can use a timing light, and that he owns one. If he doesn’t have one, we sell him one on the spot. Your flight instructor didn’t let you solo a plane without certain skills like being able to land. I am your engine instructor, and before you go home solo with your engine you are going to understand ignition timing and how to use a timing light. The distributor instructions ar on the products page of our website and they come with every distributor we sell. look at this link http://flycorvair.com/distributor.html

2) Run and correctly interpret a Differential compression test. Just yesterday I got a letter from a builder referencing a compression test saying that he had compressions “between 165 and 180 psi” These are automotive numbers not differential compression numbers.  Aircraft numbers look like 78/80 or 76/80 etc. I can’t say it enough times, but an auto compression test is like a stethoscope, and a differential compression test is like an MRI and a CAT scan. Which do you think are more powerful tools? Every annual on a certified aircraft requires a differential compression test. The tool is about $70. The most important thing I know about a guy who has a running engine but still sends me automotive numbers is that he isn’t learning anything: he is resisting treating the engine as an aircraft engine; he wants to ‘show me’ how he and his local buddies have always done it. This type of resistance to learning new processes usually just means the guy is stubborn. In aviation, this type of attitude isn’t just tiresome, its dangerous. Being willing to learn how to use a differential compression tester sets you apart from people with shade tree mindsets.

3) Set the hydraulic valve lifters. This is descriptively covered in the manual and it is visually covered on engine building DVD#3, But it is best covered in person. Increasingly people work at jobs that require little manual fidelity and feel. Right now I am typing this on a keyboard that will produce the exact same character if I lightly tough the key or I hammer down on it. We drive cars that are dumbed down with things like ABS and handling characteristics to protect the poorest or most impaired of operators. thankfully, flying is still very far away from this. So is building things with your hands, where feel counts. Setting the valves is an easy skill but if someone is coming from the ‘touch doesn’t matter’ world, they have to slow down a little and get the feel of what is going on. There are 12 of them per motor, and you can set each one several times to get the feel of this, it isn’t a task that you do just once per motor, nor a skill that has to be done in a short time window. Once set, they are good for the life of the engine and never need to be readjusted.

4) Pre-oiling the engine. This is a fairly simple process, and we have a very good set up for this on the test stand. At the college I will get someone to make a 3 minute You tube video of the basic elements of this and post a link to it here after the college. It is something important that requires no tools of value but it does start the life of your engine on the best possible footing. We pre oiled the panther engine for more than an hour. During this time, the oil in the engine went through the filter more than 300 times before the engine ever started. The Corvair is one of the very few engines for light aircraft that can have this done. You can’t do it on a Lycoming without a very elaborate set up, and I have never hear of people being able to do it on other engines. “Buy it in a box’ engine people don’t care about details like this because people shopping for an appliance don’t think like this. However, thinking like this is at the core of being a motor head, a term that I am very proud to be called. It is not a title you can buy, it something you know about yourself after you actually learn and posses skills to take care of yourself mechanically and after you have chosen not to be a blind appliance operator, but a skilled aviator.-ww

Questions from potential builders:

Builders,

Here are some questions that came in as comments on other stories:

.

———————————————————-

.

Frank Stephenson writes:

“While there will be many different results, I am wondering what the average time before overhaul may be. Also what are we looking at cost wise for one of these engines and the average cost of an engine mount? I am considering selling my current conventional geared C-172 with a C-O300B engine and buying or building something a bit smaller and more efficient. I really don’t know anything about Corvair engines other than I know of several folks who have utilized them, but I don’t really know anything about their results. I have found, in general, that automotive engines don’t make really good aircraft engines, but some VW engines I have known of are an exception and apparently the Corvair engines may be an exception.”

.

Frank, the minimum time between overhauls on a well built engine is 1,500 hours. Ten years ago we listed 1,000 hours as a very conservative figure, since then, improvements like using valve rotators have driven the life span up significantly. The Overhaul cost on the engine is very low, on the order of $2,000 to replace almost all moving parts or recondition them. You can lean more at this link: Basic Corvair information I understand that many automotive engine engines have a poor record, but I have been doing this for 25 years, and we have earned an excellent one. You can read this link: Planes flying on Corvair Power, and see many examples. For the cost of motor mounts, just look at out catalog,http://www.flycorvair.com/, and page down to Group 4200, it lists the price of every mount we make.

I know VW engines have worked for many people, but I will put the track record for reliability, power and TBO of our work with Corvairs against any VW based engine. There is a lot of information on our main webpage, http://www.flycorvair.com/. I understand that it looks overwhelming, but better too much than to little.

Here is an important point: I don’t think efficiency is a good enough reason to move to homebuilding. Lets say your Cessna does 110mph on 8 gallons an hour. There are several Corvair powered planes that can do that on 5 gallons an hour, even some on 3 gallons an hour. But even if you were to cut your fuel costs on flying 200 hours a year from $8,000 to $4,000 per year, I don’t think it is enough motivation to send a guy to the shop for 1,500 building hours. The only people that consistently succeed at homebuilding are the people who inherently would rather fly something the personally built, and people motivate by the desire to learn new skills. I have met very few people motivated just to fly less expensively who thought in the long run that homebuilding was worth it. Consider this carefully, you may have a better time staying airborne in the plane you have.

.

———————————————————-

.

Steve Spears

“Sir, I am currently building a RW26 Special ll and I would like to use the Corvair engine. However, some people are telling me that it is to heavy for the aircraft. What are your thoughts and do you know of anyone who has used a Corvair engine in the Rag Wing aircraft? I read what you wrote about the Pietenpol and am encouraged that I can use the engine”

.

Steve, I looked at this pretty closely for an hour the other night. I tend to think that a Corvair is too big to the R-26. The 912 appears to be as large an engine as people use. Several of Rodger Mann’s designs have flown with Corvairs, but I wouldn’t call any of them an ideal match. I am guessing that a Rotax 503 is really the optimum engine for many of his designs. For a comparison of how heavy duty a Pietenpol is built, the longerons in the fuselage are one inch square spruce from the firewall to the tail post. I am pretty sure the R-26 is lighter than that.

For any plane that you are wondering about Corvair power for, the best rule of thumb is asking if the same plane has flown with a Continental o-200. If it has, a Corvair will always work in it. For a comparison of the two engines look at this link:Corvair vs O-200….weight comparison and this one:Dynamometer testing the Corvair and O-200. We also have a lot of info on comparisons to 912s at this link: Testing and Data Collection reference page.  -ww.

.

STOL and utility planes for Corvair power

Builders,

Below is an overview of STOL and Utility airframes that have been Corvair powered or are in excellent candidates for the engine, that we have already looked at closely. Included with many of the airframes listed are links to stories about them.

.

This group of planes are all high-wing cabin monoplanes. There is a good selection of designs for builders to choose from. There are others that would work as well, for example Morgan William’s lite star http://www.customflightltd.com/aircraft-kits-1.html Has flown on Corvair power, but I have just written an overview of the planes most people ask about. If you have a plane in mind that you don’t see here, just send me an email.

.

—————————————–

Zenith 750:

This is a good match for the Corvair. There have been a number of them flown in the last four years, and many more are in the works. The 750 has flown on 2700, 2850 and 3000 cc Corvairs. We make every part to install the engine on a 750 airframe and have a Zenith specific install manual. The last link below has a very complete over view.

.

blogburdett050813

Above, the flying 2850cc Zenith 750 built by Gary Burdett of Illinois.  It has our full complement of Zenith installation components and one of our production engines.

.

Zenith 750 Flying on Corvair Power, Gary Burdett, Illinois

Flying  Zenith 750, Tom Siminski, 2700cc, PA.

Flying Zenith 750 w/3000cc Corvair, Doug Stevenson, California

New “Zenvair-750″, Jeff Cochran, 2,850cc engine, N750ZV

 Zenith 750 / Corvair reference page, October 2013

————————————————————————-

Zenith 701:

We flew our 701/2700cc Corvair test bed aircraft in 2007.  The combination works, and a few have been built, but the 750 has stolen a lot of the potential popularity. If anyone is looking at both airframes, they should pick the 750, because it has matched hole tooling and is far easier to build. It is a better match to a Corvair. Economically, a Corvair powered 750 will still cost a lot less than a 912 powered 701. The link below the photo has a very detailed look at the combo. The plane below was made of all our off the shelf engine components, and the entire plane and engine was built in our Edgewater hangar.

.


Our Corvair powered 701 taxis out before its first flight, 2007. Gus Warren at the Controls.

.

Zenith 701- Corvair reference page, November 2013

.

——————————————————————–

Pegzair:

Is a 20 year old Canadian design with automatic leading edge slats. It has a metal wing and a steel tube fuselage. We finished and flew the first Corvair powered on in 2007. the story is in the link below the photo. The engine has all of our conversion components. Every part ahead of the firewall was built in our hangar in Edgewater.

.

Read the story at this link:

3,100cc Corvair in Pegzair

.

—————————————————————

Wagabond :

Below, our Wagabond, N707SV, flying over the Intercostal Waterway near the Atlantic Ocean in 2005. The airframe is based on a highly modified 1964 Piper PA-22-108 (Colt). The plane was built as a group project by “The Hangar Gang” between 2003 and 2005. It has been flown by a number of well-known Corvair pilots who all found it to be a well behaved work horse. In person, the plane is very large for an LSA legal homebuilt. The airframe is the size of a Tripacer, and sitting on the ground the spinner is as tall as I am, yet a direct drive 100 HP Corvair easily flys this plane, including a test flight where the plane climbed out with a payload greater than its own empty weight.

Originally flown to shows by David Vargesko, today the plane has been modified and refined by Grace and myself, re-engined with a 120 HP 3000 cc Corvair, and functions as our personal Corvair powered plane. It is a 5 gallon per hour, 100 MPH plane with a very large baggage compartment. With Grace, the dog, myself and 36 gallons of fuel loaded, it can still carry 275 pounds of equipment and stay in CG.

 .

Below is a youtube link to the plane flying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7XhuWmqcPw

.

—————————————————————

Merlin:

Below is a link to film of Jeff Moore’s Merlin flying on floats in Newfoundland. The airframe has a strong following in Canada. This particular plane was originally powered with a Rotax. Jeff’s plane uses most of our Gold engine parts and one of our stainless U-2 exhaust systems. The engine is a 2700 cc motor with a Weseman 5th Bearing.

.

Jeff and the Merlin with Corvair installed.

.

 Film:

Jeff’s story is at this link:

Corvair Powered Merlin Flying Over Newfoundland

.

—————————————————————–

Buttercup:

The plane was originally Designed by Steve Wittman in 1937. It was vastly ahead of its time. Later modified to have full span movable leading edges.  Grace and I worked on the Buttercup pictured below with the intention of finishing it for ourselves before we had a change in direction. Our standard intake and U-2 exhaust fits the plane, along with all of our gold engine components.

Above, the motor mount for our Wittman Buttercup. It is an intensely complicated mount because it incorporates Wittman’s tapered rod landing gear sockets (the modern Buttercup actually uses RV-6 landing gear legs). Earl Luce, the plans provider gave me all the operational data and weight and balance info for his O-200 powered plane, which I mathematically worked out to the Corvair installation. The Mount resembles the O-300 mount for a Tailwind.  After completely welding it, I took it to our local powder coater, and had it done in U.S. Navy gray. It was the 40th different Corvair Motor Mount Design that I have built. Today two builders are closing in on finishing the Corvair Buttercup combination, but none have flown yet. The plane above is being finished in Wisconsin.

.

———————————————————————

Rebel:

The Murphy rebel is an all sheet metal Canadian design almost 25 years old. It is not currently in production. It is a complicated plane to build compared to other all metal designs like a Zenith. Below is a link to a story I wrote about how people who know nothing often say the Corvair will not work on utility planes like the rebel, in spite of all the evidence on this page that speaks to the contrary. The commentary and data in the story is worth reading for anyone looking at a Corvair engine for their homebuilt.

The case of the Murphy Rebel, “eyeball vs. testing”

.

———————————————————–

Bearhawk LSA:

I consider this plane to be the best flying plane in it’s category. I worked directly with the designer Bob Barrows to develop a Corvair motor mount for it. I flew Bob’s prototype, and it has excellent handling qualities. The design uses or standard intake manifold, and a stainless exhaust common to our Zenith installation.

.

Corvair Motor Mount for Bearhawk LSA

Bearhawk LSA, Corvair motor mount in development

Bob Barrows to Fly LSA Bearhawk to CC #27, Barnwell, S.C., Nov. 2013

.

———————————————————-

Kitfox:

The only Kitfox model that has flown with a Corvair was the model 5. The builder had a number of issues, related to using a poor choice in carbs. Below is a link to a Kitfox 4 mount we made in my shop. The engine is slightly too big for the model 4, but it is a good match for the series 5 and up.  The factory likes to promote engines they sell cowls for and have a dealership on.  Kitfox has had three different owners in the last 25 years. The current ones did not sell the bulk of the unfinished model 5’s which are available second hand from internet sources like barnstormers.com for less than 50% of their original sale price. Combine one of these with a Basic Corvair, and it is possible to build a good plane for less than $18K, airframe and engine.

.

Kitfox Model IV with Corvair mount

———————————————————-

Stits SA-7D Skycoupe:

Ray Stits, the man behind the fabric covering system designed a series of very successful planes in the late 1950s. The Skycoupe was once one of the most popular 2 seat planes in the EAA.  Several hundred were built, and their was even a FAR-23 type certified model. It is a stout plane, but it is small inside by modern standards. We put about 200 hours of flight testing on ours, it is a natural match for the Corvair. Below the photo is a link to pictures of turbocharging the design.

.

Above, the Skycoupe on the ramp in front of our Edgewater hangar in 2007. We made every component ahead of the firewall on this plane.

.

Read more at this link:

More Turbo Skycoupe photos

.

———————————————————–

Fisher Horizon 1 and 2:

Both of these designs have flown on Corvair power. I built the motor mount for them, and most of our off the shelf components fit the installation.  The plane has strong appeal for builders who like wood, but it is not as rugged as steel tube designs or all aluminum ones.

———————————————————–

J-3:

The first plane ever to fly with a Corvair was a J-3 in 1960.  The Corvair would make a very good power plant for any of the J-3, J-5, PA-12 family of airframes.

————————————————————-

Just Highlander:

Below is a photo of the first Corvair/highlander to fly. It was not a success because the builder insisted on using a left over cowl from a Jabaru 3300, and the Bing Carb from the same engine. He also ran the engine was a display without any form of cooling for a long period on the ground prior to the first flight.  With the wrong cowl and carb, it should come as no surprise that the plane overheated. From the pictures above, we have plenty of evidence that the Corvair can easily power larger heaver and slower planes than the Highlander when it is equipped with the correct cowl and carb. .

.

————————————————————

Christavia:

Is an older design that is somewhat similar to a champ. The plane has many fans, but it would not be my first choice in a utility plane. It is called a STOL plane, and it is by Lancair standards by not by Zenith standards. The plane pictured below was powered by a 2700 Corvair with a Rinker Gearbox, a design from the 1970’s. The gear box failed in 28 hours because the machinist employed by the builder decided to omit a keyway critical to the design. The combination will work much better as a direct drive plane.

.

 .

——————————————————-

Taylorcraft BC-12D replica:

Below is a one of a kind plane, built from some BC-12D parts. Today the FAA has cracked down on this practice, but with a friendly DAR this could still be made. The plane below is powered by a 2700 and has clipped wings. It topped out at 130mph.

.

.

This very slick aircraft is the handiwork of Gary Loucks of New York.

.

 

 

Group 2400-L Starter installation instructions.

Builders:

Our ‘ultimate’ evolution of starter systems is the 2400-L  series. It was flight tested on the SPA/Panther early in 2015, and has since become the benchmark for simple, ultra-light, efficient and powerful starters for Corvairs. We have produced several hundred, and they are now our standard starter we recommend to every builder.

.

The great majority of flying Corvair powered planes utilize one of the Nippon Denso based starters we sold between 2002 and 2015. These are good systems, and they use the same basic starter design as most of the high performance aftermarket starters for Lycomings.  To justify a new generation of starters, the New 2400-L series would have to be significantly lighter, simpler to install, and be even more efficient. After a lot of R&D and testing, we met all these goals. The new starter is 3 pounds lighter, it has a very simple set up that takes only minutes, and surprisingly, it cranks the Corvair faster, while using less amps, and having a much lower voltage drop.  It meets these goals at a modest price increase over earlier systems.

.

We sell the system as a complete kit which includes all the items in the 2400 starter group. This is explained in detail in the conversion manual. The included items are the Starter itself, the mounting brackets, the Gold top cover, and the ring gear.  The direct link to see the kit for sale is here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2400-l-light-start-group-kit/

.

IMG_9123

.

Above, The 2400-L system atop my own personal Corvair engine. The starter is powerful enough to crank any Corvair (Dan Weseman has one on his high compression 3.3 Liter Corvair: SPA / Weseman 3.3 Liter Corvair now running) on a very light weight battery.  The view shows how compact the unit is, the starter motor itself is smaller than a 12 ounce soda can. The starter above sports black powder coating that we put on some 2400-L starters for aesthetic reasons. The 2400-L kits are specifically made to mate with Weseman Group 3000 5th bearings.

.

IMG_2306

.

Top view of a Corvair built in our shop, showing 2400-L starter arrangement. The black part is the starter motor, the silver part is the integral solenoid. The Top Cover, brackets, main starter plate, and the starter nose are all made on high end CNC machines here in the US, and for this reason they are very accurate and easy to set up.

.

IMG_2312

.

Rear view of 2400- L starter on the dipstick side (Cylinders 1-3-5) of the engine. Because this starter has a very stiff 3/8″ think billet main plate, it does not need a tail bracket like our previous designs.  The mounting bracket on this side has a 7/16″ bolt fixed in it. This is the pivot bolt for the adjustment. On installation this bolt is snugged up just enough to still allow the starter to pivots for adjustment. After it is set, the nut is tightened to 45 foot pounds.

.

IMG_2313

.

Above, the non-dipstick side (Cylinders 2-4-6) of the engine. This mounting bracket has a 3/8″-24 stud fixed in it. The main plate, seen in natural aluminum here, is actually sloted where the stud goes through it. This provides the adjustment for the mesh between the ring gear and the starter. Once the adjustment is set, the NAS locknut is torqued to 25 foot pounds and the unit will hold this adjustment for good.

.

Instillation sequence:

1) The ring gear is mounted on the Gold prop hub using the hardware that comes with the Gold hub. Most people paint the ring gear before installing it, other wise it will rust. Powder coating is not recommended, as it tends to fill in the valleys between the teeth and affect the mesh.

2) The gold top cover is mounted on the case with the twelve 5/16″ fasteners, each with a lock washer under the head. These need a light coat of anti-seize  (like ARP lube)  on the threads. The heads of the two fasteners which go under the starter must be the “button head” style provided, for clearance. The four starter bracket mounting bolts clamp the top cover, making the total fastener count sixteen, matching the number of holes in the top cover. The top cover gasket should have a thin film of Permatex ultra grey RTV sealer applied to each side. Before putting the sealer on, match the bolt pattern on the cover and gasket to the case, it is not symmetrical.

2) Each mounting bracket is held down by two 5/16″ bolts with lock washers under the heads. These bolts should have a light coating of anti-seize (like ARP lube) on the threads where they go into the case. They are torqued to 15 foot pounds. Bolt down the dip stick side, but leave the other side off for now.

3) The starter is mounted on the 7/16″ pivot bolt, and the nut is just snugged up to take out the slack, but still allow the starter to pivot. Using a pair of pliers gripping the starter gear teeth, pull the teeth forward to their extended position. Sick a small screwdriver behind the clutch ( the round part behind the teeth) to keep the clutch/gear teeth  extended forward.

4) Install  the non-dipstick side bracket on the main plate by putting the 3/8″ stud through the slotted hole in the plate. put the nut on lightly.

5) Pivot the starter down to meet the ring gear, and when it is close, install the two 5/16″ mounting bolts in  the non-dipstick side bracket.

6) Put a 1/16″ drill bit or welding rod in the valley between the two ring gear teeth where the lowest starter gear tooth meshes. snug up both the 7/16″ pivot bolt nut and the nut on the 3/8″ stud. Push the starter down hard enough to pinch the 1/16″ drill between the ring gear teeth and the starter gear tooth, so it cant be pulled out with bare fingers. Tighten up the nuts fully, pull the small screwdriver from behind the starter clutch. Rotating the ring gear slightly should cause the 1/16″ drill to come out, and the starter gear will automatically retract. The starter is now set.

7) The small 1/4 spade terminal on the solenoid is connected to the starter switch; the outboard stud is where the 12V battery cable connects.

8) You can judge a good gear mesh by the sound. It will sound just like your car cranking if it is right. If it is too loose it will make excessive metallic grinding sounds, it it is too tight, the starter gear will hit the back of the ring gear instead of engaging it. If you want to test it, make sure you do so with the spark plugs in to provide a full cranking load. Without them, even a very loose mesh will sound good. BE VERY CAREFULL WHEN THE STARER IS HOOKED UP – EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN IGNITION OR CARB INSTALLED.  A cranking starter, even if the engine doesn’t start, will turn a prop 350 rpm, this is plenty of power to inflict a fatal blow. Even if you have no prop on, be careful, having your hand or shirt sleeve near the gear, could draw your fingers into the meshing gears. Anytime you have a battery near the system, use your brain, pay attention.

.

————————————————-

.

IMG_2298

.

Rear quarter view of the 2400-L starter system. It is an efficient, elegantly simple system.

.

-ww.

.

Custom Corvair Motor Mounts and installation components. 

Builders;

Over the years 1996-2016 I built about 50 one of a kind motor mounts to install a Corvair in unique or limited popularity airframes.  If you look back over the old photos on my traditional site: http://flycorvair.com/ you can see pictures of mounts on airframes like the Pegzair, Eich/J-2, Buttercup, Tailwind, Jr Ace, Stitts Skycoupe, KR-1, Kitfox #4, Skylite,  and Varieze.  There were a number of designs that started as one mount, but took years for a second one to sell, these include the Dragonfly, the 701, the Flybaby and the Wagabond. 

.

While just four designs, the Zenith 601/650, the Zenith 750, the Pietenpol Aircamper and the KR-2 and 2S make up 90% of the total mounts we have made over the years, I still wanted to support the airframes choices that some builders made. As a general policy, if it was a good match to the airframe, and the builder seriously wanted it, I was willing to make it.

.

The plan got a number of interesting planes going and was a good way to demonstrate both the versatility of the engine, and our technical ability to support builders. But it also had several serious flaws: Although most custom mounts take four times as long to build, and a lot of planning, I typically only charged builders the same rate as the closest “big four” mount, and second, I didn’t always get builders to acknowledge that custom mounts took time, and were not the highest priority in the shop. This meant I lost money on every one of these mounts, and was often rewarded by having an impatient customer complain to on line discussion groups, without ever mentioning the price, nor the fact his was building an obscure, obsolete airframe. Let those mounts stand as “Exhibit A” that I am both dumb and a slow learner.

.

Under the principle “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese” , Dan Weseman is now trying his hand at offering custom motor mounts and exhausts. Because he believes it isn’t required to repeat the mistakes of friends, he is making these mounts, but requiring the builders to understand they are going to cost more than standard mounts, and they are not in stock like the “big four” mounts. He is glad to look at doing mounts for builders as long as conversation starts with the understanding of these to points.

.


.

Above, It looks like a number of other mounts, but this is a picture of a Savanna S mount.  It was built by Dan Weseman at SPA/Panther. Note that it has it’s own custom exhaust that fits it like a glove.  While the mount is built around the same basic “tray”  as other mounts, and the exhaust system uses our decade prove stainless steel subcomponents, they still take a lot of time to design and build. These items are shown on my dummy engine, installed on a rotting stand, because all kind of components have to be check for clearance and the ability to be routinely serviced. Additionally, calculations for both weight and balance, thrust line and stress must be done. This is why a one of a kind mount has to cost a lot more, because a popular mount can have these cost spread over many of it’s kind.  Builders interested in talking to Dan about a mount can call him at 904-626-7777.

.

-ww.

.

Corvair – Pietenpol Reference page

Builders

Here is a collection of information we have put out for Pietenpol builders. I have swept it into this single page so builders can have a single reference point on the airframe. As we have more content, I can easily add a link here and keep this current. This page is just a brief set of notes and links to stories I have written about Pietenpols. If you would like to start with a simple three page spec sheet on the engine, read this link first: Basic Corvair information

I can still recall the very first picture of a Pietenpol I ever saw, a grainy black and white image in Peter Bower’s “The 25 most practical Homebuilts.” It was love at first sight, I ordered a set of plans from Don Pietenpol the next week, and 25 years later, the design and the people who love them still hold a place in my heart.

.

 Above, A great afternoon at Brodhead WI, 2009. R to L, the Piets of Gary and Shad Bell , Kurt Shipman, Randy Bush, all Corvair powered.

.

Above, my proudest day in aviation. Grace and I with friends and my Pietenpol in front of the old Brodhead sign at the Pietenpol Reunion in 2000. We had just flown up  from Florida, and spent a great day with friends old and new, with my mother and father on hand. This single day made years of work in the hangar worthwhile.

.

(Click on any colored title to read the full story)

.

Pietenpol Aircampers:

Pietenpol review in pictures, 15 more Corvair powered Piets

Bob Lester’s Corvair/ Pietenpol nears 800 hours.

The Bell Pietenpol, 3 generations of flyers

House Call on Pat Green’s 1,000 Hour Pietenpol

Pietenpol Power: 100 hp Corvair vs 65 hp Lycoming

Steve Williamson Pietenpol at 60 hrs., SoCal.

New Pietenpol, EAA #1279, French Valley CA

New Pietenpol #3, Mike Groah, Tulare, California

New Pietenpol, Gary Boothe, Cool, Calif.

Gary Boothe’s Pietenpol, flying video

New Pietenpol, 2700 Corvair, Don Harper SC

Randy Bush’s Pietenpol hits 500 hours.

Farewell to a Good Man; Robert Caldwell departs.

Guest Writer: Pietenpol builder/flyer Kevin Purtee

Knoll Family Pietenpol

Bob Dewenter’s Pietenpol project

Pietenpol Project – Terry Hand

Pietenpol 2,775 cc Corvair; Trevor Rushton from UK

.

Oshkosh 2004,  Alex Sloan, holding plaque has just been presented The Tony Bingelis Award.  L ot R, Noted Pietenpol builder and pilot Mike Cuy, Pietenpol historian and newsletter editor par excellence, Doc Mosher, Grace and Myself. I have always tried to give something back to todays Piet builders, as I personally benefitted from the efforts of the builders who preceded me. I have worked with Doc on this, including developing the Weight and Balance testing and data bank. He and his wife Dee have been the single biggest factor in the design’s explosive popularity in the last 10 years.

.



Above, Speaking at the Brodhead forums, 2008. This gathering in July is my favorite event of the year. It is a great place to socialize, meet new friends, see planes and exchange ideas. I have only missed one year in the last 19, given forums the last 12 years. We also do practical stuff: we weighed 28 Piets on electronic scales there in a two year period. The data is in the back issues on the newsletter, available at Pietenpols.org.

.

Installations and airframe parts.

Pietenpol Mount on airframe

Pietenpol Weight and Balance project

Pietenpol Weight and Balance article source

Current Corvair Installation in a Pietenpol, part #1

Current Corvair Installation in a Pietenpol, Part 2

Steel tube Pietenpol fuselage with landing gear and 12 x 4.8″ tires.

Great lies from discussion groups…….part #1

Pietenpol Products, Motor mounts, Gear and Instalation Components.

New die spring landing gear on a Pietenpol, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pietenpol Motor Mounts, P/N 4201(C)

Pietenpol Fuel lines and Cabanes

Fuel lines and Cabanes, part 2

Pietenpol Box Spar Construction, 6/27/13

Cooling with J-3 style cowls. (Pietenpols, Cubs, Biplanes, etc)

Three Pietenpol Motor Mounts

In Search Of … The Economical Carburetor

Franklin Engine Runs at CC ##22 KGTU Spring Break 2012

http://www.flycorvair.com/pietengineissue.html

Terry Hand’s 2700 cc Pietenpol engine – w/Weseman 5th bearing

 “Zen-vair” and “Piet-vair” Discussion Groups, your resource..

Pietenpol lift struts; $65, a free education, and fun with friends..

Custom Pietenpol engine mount.

Yes, Pietenpols do need 5th Bearings..

Evolution of a Pietenpol

Evolution of a Pietenpol pt. 2

Andrew Pietenpol, aviator and Grandson of BHP, right, attends Corvair College #4 with Grace and Myself in 2003. Greatest complement anyone has ever said to me in 25 years in aviation: Andrew told me that day “My Grandfather would have adopted you.”

.

Stories on the influence of BHP

B.H. Pietenpol, Patron Saint of Homebuilding

Don Pietenpol Passes, 1/8/14

Vi Kapler passes from this Earth, age 88.

New Pietenpol Family website

The Cherry Grove Trophy

Help Needed, Wikipedia error on Pietenpols

Cherry Grove story, “The long way home”

Cherry Grove story, Part 2.

Pietenpol first flight; Honolulu International.

Flathead Ford, 71 cid. Freedom to pursue happiness.

Guest Editorial, Pietenpol builder Terry Hand.

Bob Lester’s 48 flight hour, 3400 mile Pietenpol adventure

Pietenpol Builders and Pilots at Corvair College #31.

Ralph Carlson and Conversion Manual #1.

.

IMG_1202

.

Above, Kevin Purtee and I speaking at Corvair College #32. Although we look very different, we have a lot of things in Common: We are both the same age; We are both Embry-Riddle graduates from the same Degree Program; we have both worked in aviation every day since we were 26; we have very similar perspectives on risk management.  Read: Thought for the Day: Two paths in managing risk.

.

If you would like to read a number of personal stories, some with very harsh lessons on the unforgiving nature of flight, Please look here: Risk Management reference page. If you read them with an open mind, some of my friends will be able to posthumously teach you to take care of yourself. -ww.

.

Zenith 750 / Corvair reference page, October 2013

Builders,

Here is a single location page that has a great number of links to information specific to the Zenith 750 / William Wynne-Corvair Combination.  It is a particularly good match, we have a number of different ways to approach it that serve the needs of many different builders, and it is a success story that builds on our 10 year history of working with Zenith builders, starting with our own personal 601XL in 2003. Since then we have assisted more than 80 builders to complete and fly their Corvair powered Zeniths. In the coming years these will be accompanied by an ever increasing number of 750’s.

If you already are working on your Corvair, this page will have information you have seen already on our websites, but I have included it so that this page can function as a ‘stand alone’ guide for 750 builders who have just heard about our work with the Corvair. Our approach to serving builders is different than typical businesses geared only to sell things to consumers. Our goal is to assist you on your path to becoming a more skilled aviator. The products we sell support this, but simply getting you to buy things is not what I am in aviation to accomplish. If you would like to start with a simple three page spec sheet on the engine, read this link first: Basic Corvair information

This page is broken into the following sections:

1) Introduction

2) Engine and build options

3) installation components

4) Support for builders

5) Flying 750’s

6) Builders in process

7) 750 flight data and safety notes

8) who is WW?

9) Comments on dangerous trash.

At the end of each section there are links to supporting stories that have expanded information on concepts discussed in the section. Take your time and study it carefully.

I will be glad to answer further questions just email WilliamTCA@aol.com or call 904-529-0006. You can also check our two websites, http://flycorvair.net/ , http://flycorvair.com/ . The first is our ‘newspaper’ the second is our ‘library’ and ‘store.’ The links below are stories that already appear on these two sites, they are just arranged here to support this introduction to Corvair power for 750 builders.

blogburdett050813

Above, the flying 2850cc Zenith 750 built by Gary Burdett of Illinois.  It has our full complement of Zenith installation components and one of our production engines.

.

1) Introduction:

The Corvair has been flying since 1960, and I have been working with them as flight engines since 1989. It is a story of careful development and testing, a slow evolution to the engines we have today. It is ‘old and proven’ rather than ‘new and exciting.’  If that approach appeals to you, read on. There is a lot of material here, and it isn’t something you are going to absorb in one quick scan. Frankly, your engine selection deserves careful consideration, and it isn’t the kind of decision you should make based on a 4 page sales brochure.

Corvairs have proven themselves to serve a very broad variety of builders. Many alternative engine options for the Zenith are offered only as a “buy it in a box” import, more of an appliance than a machine, with little or no consideration of the builders, skills goals, needs, budget or time line. The Corvair has options to address these valid considerations, because your power plant should conform to you, not the other way around.

This said, Corvairs are not for everyone.  In the 25 years I have been in the EAA and working with builders, the Corvair has always been very popular with ‘traditional homebuilders’, the people who have come to experimental aviation to discover how much they can learn, understand and master.  The expansion of the EAA has brought more of these builders, but it has also brought a great number of people incapable of distinguishing between mastery of an aircraft or an engine and just merely being its buyer and owner.  People who’s consumer mentality and short attention spans are better suited to toy ownership than mastery of skills and tools in aviation. Corvairs, and perhaps experimental aviation, are a poor match for such people. Many salesmen in our field will gladly sell anything to anyone with green money. I am an aviator, not a salesman, and the gravity of the subject requires more frank discussion and ethics than many salesmen bring to the table.

If you came to experimental aviation to find out how much you can master, not how little, then you are among the aviators who follow Lindbergh’s timeless 1927 quote: “Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved.”  Even if you are brand new to aviation, I am glad to work with you. I have a long history of working with builders of all skill levels. We have a number of successful builders out flying their Zeniths who are the masters of both their airframes and engines, who had never changed the oil in a car before building their plane.  If you got into experimental aviation just to buy stuff, then any salesman will do just fine for you. If you got into experimental aviation to learn, develop your own skills and craftsmanship and make things with your own hands, then who you work with really matters. You can’t become and old school homebuilder / motor head by buying things from salesmen. They have nothing to teach you. What you will do in experimental aviation is not limited by what you already know. It is only limited by what you are willing to learn, and selecting experienced people to learn from.  If you are here to learn, I am here to teach. It is that simple.

.

—————————————————————————-

a) – Complete Lindbergh quote is here: The Quote, 1927, C.A.L.

b) – Explanation of machines vs appliances : Machines vs Appliances Part #2

c) – Story of real engines vs ‘ideal’ ones: Unicorns vs Ponies.

d) – An example of our ling standing working relationship with Zenith: Friday out of shop until 4pm.

e) – A direct explanation of what makes my work different than typical LLC’s : 2011 Outlook & Philosophy

f) – A moving statement of philosophy: Sterling Hayden – Philosophy

.

Above, the 3,000 cc Corvair, configured for a Zenith 750. An inherently simple engine, It’s opposed six configuration makes it the smoothest of available power plants. It has outstanding cooling because GM put a tremendous amount of cooling fins on it and  gave it a factory CHT redline of 575F. All of our engine parts are made in the United States.

.

2) Engine and build options:

.

If you are new to Corvairs, lets quickly cover some ground: General  Motors made 1.8 million Corvairs. brand new parts, including billet cranks, forged pistons, valves bearings,  virtually every single part inside is currently made and readily available, and will remain so. Rebuildable Corvair engines are plentiful, and much easier to find that Lycomings or Continentals. We have been working with Corvairs for 25 years, and there is no shortage of core engines or parts. If you doubt this for a second, Google “Corvair engine parts.”

The Corvair makes an outstanding aircraft engine because it is a simple, compact, direct drive, horizontally opposed six cylinder, air cooled engine. It is robust, and ‘flat rated ‘ from it’s automotive output. The engine runs equally well on automotive fuel and 100LL, and it does not care about ethanol. In its 53 year flight history, more than 500 experimental aircraft have flown on Corvair power.

The engine can be built in three dispacements with three respective power outputs. They are 2,700cc / 100HP, 2,850cc / 110HP and 3,000cc / 120HP. The two smaller displacements weigh 230 pounds, the larger actually weighs 8 pounds less because it uses lighter cylinders. All engines are completely rebuilt from very high quality parts before flight. They are not just removed from cars. The parts we use are specifically selected to convert the engine for the rigors of flight use. Forged pistons, Inconel valves, chrome rings, ARP rod bolts and many other components are upgraded in the rebuild.

To absorb the propeller and flight loads a “5th bearing” is added. It is a billet housing with a very large bearing from a V-8, bolted on the end of the case.The ignition is redundant and utilizes two 40,000 volt systems, one driven by digital electronics the size of a match book, the other by a traditional set of points. The engine is direct drive, it has no complex reduction unit. It makes good thrust because it has more than twice the cubic inches of a Rotax 912. All of the systems on the engine are intentionally patterned after those on Lycomings and Continentals, because they are the  model of success in proven aircraft power plants. People who do not acknowledge certified engines as excellent models of success are often just zealots.  To succeed in experimental aviation you need dispassionate information not emotional opinion.

One of the unique features of the Corvair is that it can be built at home, from our information and parts and a locally acquired rebuildable engine, or it can be purchased from us, test run with logs. 90% of current builders are building their own engine at home. Only 10% of the builders opt to have us build their engine. We have happy to serve both builders. In either case, Corvairs are the best match for builders who want to understand and be the master of their engine.

Because of the plans built vs production engine nature of the Corvair, there are large variations in how much builders budgets run. Below is a quick look at the differences. Keep in mind, these budgets are for first class, completely overhauled, zero timed engines with 5th bearings, starting, ignition and charging systems. We have clever builders who have built and flown engines for less than $3,000, but this not representative of main line builders. The numbers below are much better for Zenith builders to budget on.

.

2,700cc / 100HP typical homebuilders budget: $6,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $9,750

2,850cc / 110HP typical homebuilders budget: $7,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $10,750

3,000cc / 120HP typical homebuilders budget: $8,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $11,750

.

If you are attracted to the concept of building your own engine, but have not built motors before, Good.  About half of our builders have never built any kind of an engine before. Our main work is teaching people what we know and providing the parts to work with. Our system does not require anyone to be a machinist nor to have previous engine experience.

The procedure of building an engine in your shop follows this format:

1) Get a conversion manual and DVD’s from us, use them to find a rebuild able core engine locally. Disassemble this engine following the steps in the DVD.

2) Send the crank and heads to our approved facilities for rebuilding and modification. They come back ready to ‘bolt on.’ Other parts of the engine are cleaned and inspected. The parts to convert the engine are ordered from us, many of the standard rebuild parts like lifters and gaskets are available from local auto parts stores. We do not ‘middle man’ anything you can directly buy.

3) Assemble these parts according to the manual and DVDs. There is no machine work required, only basic tools are needed, and a few specialty tools like a torque wrench. Many builders attend our free Corvair Colleges and directly learn hands on skills. You can even bring your parts and assemble them under our supervision, and test run your engine on our equipment. College attendance is a plus, but not required. Our methods work without direct training; a good number of engines are built and flown each year by builders who have never met me in person.

4) The test run serves several purposes. We teach people to build one of  three specific models, and we teach them to use specific parts. Not only are these proven, but it also allows me to verify from a remote location that the engine was assembled correctly. A builder can report his static rpm, CHT, oil temp during the test run with his Warp Drive prop at the specified setting, and I can confirm the output and assembly of the engine without seeing it personally.

If you would like a sample of the information on working your way through the above four steps, get a look at this: Getting Started in 2013, part #1, Crankshaft process options.

I have broken down building a Corvair and installing it on your airframe into 42 “groups”. The previous link is about  ‘Group 1000’ the crankshaft. If you would like to look at every part that goes into a Corvair, along with the conversion parts we sell, look at Groups 1000 -3300 at this link to our catalog: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html

All builders get started with a conversion manual. The first part of the above link is about manuals and DVD’s.  The direct link to the manual is: http://www.flycorvair.com/manual.html. almost all builders looking for a rebuild able engine also order the Disassembly  DVD, which covers core engine selection visually. The direct link to it is: http://www.flycorvair.com/videov.html We encourage everyone to get started with information, even if you are pretty sure you would like to purchase a production engine from us. If you eventually buy an engine from us, we directly reduce the price to rebate all the money you spent on manuals and DVD’s.

.

———————————————–

a) – Corvair Weight story: Corvair vs O-200…. weight comparison

b) –  Samples of our production engines:  2012 Corvair Engines For Sale: 100, 110 and 120 HP

c) – For an explanation of ‘flat rating’ and a 750 engine build : Shop perspective: Mastery or ?

d) – A story about engines running on our hangar Dyno: http://www.flycorvair.com/thrust.html

e) Engine of builder now working on 750 airframe: World’s Strongest 3,000cc Corvair, built by Greg Crouchley

f)  3,000cc engine we built for 750 builder Larry Hatfield: 3,000cc Engine Running

g) A story about the evolution on 120HP Corvairs: 3,000 vs 3,100 cc Corvair engines.

.

Headed to the 2012 Zenith open house, six of our powder coated 750 mounts. All of our mounts are welded in house, all of our parts are made in the United States.

.

3) Installation Components for the 750:

We provide every single part it takes to install a Corvair in your 750.  You can buy them one at a time, or all at once. Ninety percent of these parts are common to our Zenith 601/650 installation, which has been successfully flying for a decade. Only the mount, the diameter of the prop, and the size of the air inlets is different. Our Zenith installation manual detail how and why each of the installation components are installed on your airframe.

The installation does not require any modification to the airframe fuel system like most EFI engines do.  Being air cooled and carbureted, it is one of the easiest engines to install. Many companies that are good at selling things are poor at teaching things, like how to install their products. Teaching is the very cornerstone of my work, I am a skilled writer, we run Corvair Colleges, and we have a simple engine. All this adds up to a comparitively easy engine to install. There is no need to rush it, but I can do it working in one long day.

 Installation part numbers are Groups 3400 through 4300 in the second half of our numbering system. Get a look at this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html From that list, you can see that the major installation parts for a 750 are: #3601(S) intake manifold, #3901(A) Stainless exhaust, #4002 spinner bulkhead, #4003 Warp Drive prop, #4101 baffle kit, #4102 nose bowl, #4103 cowl kit and a #4201(B) mount. The other smaller items listed are detail in our Zenith installation manual. All of the above parts have links to stories through the products page, but just for an overview of a single part, look at this link: Zenith 750/Cruiser Mounts. P/N 4201(B)

Many people new to building initially think that very economical engines like the Corvair must also be inexpensine to install. In reality, the cost of items like motor mounts and cowls are not affected by the cost of the engine they mount and house.  A mount for a $30K UL-350 and a $7K Corvair have about the same amount to tubing and welding time in them, and thus cost about the same. Most engines for Zeniths have installation kits that run from $4,000 to $6,000. The Corvair is near the bottom of this range, but the savings of using the Corvair is in the engine, not the cost of installing it. Builders can save a significant amount of money by fabricating many of the parts like #4103, but most people are near the finish line at that point and opt to buy it and save the time. Exact cost on the installation parts varies a bit, I will be glad to review it with builders after they study the installation manual.

—————————————–

a) – For an example of 74 years of aircraft welding talent: Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A)

b) – To learn about the Stainless exhausts we make: Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems

c) – A 2008 look at how we developed the 750 installation on one of the first kits:

  http://www.flycorvair.com/750.html

d) You tube video of an engine we built running on a 750 fuselage, 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_1ov0DAbe8&feature=plcp

.

An overhead photo of a CH-750 installation we did in 2009.

.

Above, 2004 at Oshkosh: Next to our personal Zenith N-1777W, I explain our dual ignition arrangement two executives from Falcon insurance, The EAA’s provider. To offer real support, an alternative engine provider must be an effective advocate for his builders on many fronts, including meeting the requirements of underwriters. Just being an engine guru is not nearly enough. Corvair engines that follow our design,  including to ones assembled by builders, are fully insurable at the lowest rates, right from the first flight, because they have an outstanding safety record. Having good effective hands on support is a critical element in this outstanding record.

.

4) Support for Builders:

Beyond the basic engine and installation components, we offer many forms of support to Zenith builders:

.

a) We have a very detailed Installation manual for all Zeniths: http://www.flycorvair.com/601im.html We also have a flight operations manual with specific test flight plans and procedures: http://www.flycorvair.com/ops09.html

.

 b) we hold 4 free hands on technical seminars called “Corvair Colleges” every year. This includes an annual College held in Mexico MO at the Zenith Factory timed to coincide with the factory open house in September. For an introduction to Colleges, read this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/cc21.html  An overview of upcoming colleges is at this link:  Upcoming events, Airshows and Colleges #26-28. If you would like to see video of a College, here is a link to Corvair College #17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfa85e3ibI4&playnext=1&list=PL1D40A102EC2A194D&feature=results_video

.

c) The “Zenvair” group is a separate on-line peer-to-peer discussion group just for Corvair/Zenith flyers to directly and freely share information and data with each other in a civilized productive format. The link is : ‘Zenvair’ Information board formed  This is very effectively moderated by Zenith/Corvair builder and flyer Phil Maxson.

.

d) Woody Harris, subject of this story:  Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris Is our west coast representative. Although we have held 5 Corvair Colleges in California, including 2 at Zeniths west coast facility Quality sport planes,  we only make one trip to the west per year. Woody covers all the shows and events from Arlington to Copper State when we can’t be there.

.

e) I am the last guy in aviation who still makes free house calls. Over the years I have made more than 400 in person visits builders projects. I travel extensively, and go out of my way to include builders workshops on these trips.  These stops and the colleges allow me to really understand the needs, strengths and dreams of rank and file builders that no one can read in email or at an airshow. for a sample, read this story: Corvair House Call, Range: 335 miles.

.

f)  By my continued advocacy and industry relations, Corvairs have full insurance, at the lowest rates, available from a number of sources. If you would like to find out more Contact Bob Mackey, VP of Falcon insurance, The EAA’s designated provider, seen on the left in the photo above.

.

g) Over the years, we have built a very tight knit community of like minded builders. If you read this story about fools at our county airport: A visit to the insane asylum, and it sounds like your airport, and if your local EAA chapter is devoid of homebuilders and filled with negative people, you will find the Corvair movement to be a powerful antidote. Many Corvair builders catch several colleges a year, there they find positive, outgoing, energetic builders, effectively making the Colleges their “local EAA chapter” We have worked very hard to attract outstanding people interested in accomplishing their goals. I  go out of my way to encourage new builders but I am intolerant of people who are compulsively negative. I am willing to be a cheerleader, but not a therapist.

.

——————————————

blog050213stevenson

Doug Stevenson’s 750, powered by a 3,000 cc Corvair engine in California. This was the first Corvair powered 750 to fly.

.

5) Examples of flying Corvair Powered Zenith 750s:

Doug Stevenson : Flying Zenith 750 w/3000cc Corvair, Doug Stevenson, California

Jeff Cochran: New “Zenvair-750″, Jeff Cochran, 2,850cc engine, N750ZV

Gary Burdett: Zenith 750 Flying on Corvair Power, Gary Burdett, Illinois

first story: Gary Burdett, 2,850cc Zenith 750, now flying. (engine selection)

Tom Siminski : Flying Zenith 750, Tom Siminski, 2700cc, PA.

———————————————–

blogvdm030613

Above, Coenraad Van Der Merwe at the controls of his 750 during the first run of the 2,700cc Corvair he built for it. In spite of a busy work and personal schedule, he completed the airframe and built his engine in 18 months. Electing to build your own engine need not significantly increase the length of your build.  In many cases, the vastly lower cost of this option compared to other engines allows the aircraft to be completed years earlier. Money, not time, is the limiting agent in most aircraft builds.

.

6) Examples of Builders working on this Combination:

Coenraad’s 2,700cc: Running Zenith 750, Coenraad Van Der Merwe, CA

Blain Schwartz’s 2,850cc: Zenith 750 Builder Blaine Schwartz video on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4HwntCo2-I

Rodger Grable’s 2,850cc Corvair College #23 – 2850cc Engine, Roger Grable, CH-750 Builder

———————————————-

.

7) Operational Data for this combination:

If you would like to read a story about detailed flight data collection on a 2,850cc 750, check out this link: CHT part #5, flight data from Zenith 750 . It is an example of the type of information exchanged on our ‘Zenvair’ group.  If you are attracted to a builders group that is made of intelligent thinking people, you will fit right in with Corvair builders.

If you would like a single example to effectively demonstrate that I am an aviator not a salesman, it is the type of data that I discuss with builders. No salesmen will acknowledge accidents nor difficulties that involved their products, even circumstantially.

Conversely, I am here to teach people what they need to know. I have a long history of writing about subjects that salesmen wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I write about accidents and friends I have lost, honest mistakes people made and things you can learn from them.  Just about everything know in aviation cost someone dearly to learn. If you are unwilling to talk about these things in plain language, people are doomed to repeat them.

For an example of  plain speaking, I conducted an in person investigation of an accident on Doug Stevenson’s 750. It had an off airport landing on it’s third flight, and was damaged. It was caused by fuel exhaustion. You can read the whole story at this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/stevenson.html . Doug made a simple mistake., but he was man enough to admit it, and he wanted others to learn from it. As the leader of the Corvair movement I long ago set the ethic that we don’t demonize men for honest mistakes, we work with them to investigate and teach others. Doug repaired the airframe and we tore the engine down and internally inspected it. His aircraft is back flying and a proven performer now. As you read the report, keep in mind that I am a graduate of the same Embry Riddle degree program that most NTSB accident investigators. The data I collected, including the video, was taken into the official report.

.

——————————————-

Above, A photo taken at Sun n Fun 2006. My wife Grace Ellen and myself, in front of the first Corvair powered Zenith, our own N-1777W. The plane was the first XL model with conventional gear.  Grace is a skilled pilot in her own right. She has been a pilot longer than I have, holds more advanced ratings and owns two aircraft. As a point of ethics, we do not promote, advocate nor sell things we have not personally flown behind.

.

8) Who is William Wynne?

Modern consumer sales logic dictates that that business should ‘de-personalize’ themselves so consumers find nothing objectionable about the provider while they are spending money.  That model may work elsewhere, and even have advocates experimental aviation, but I don’t buy it.  I contend that Aviation is a different arena, and who you are dealing with, and their ethics, experience and perspective matters.

Building a plane or an engine is a marriage of sorts between the builder and his airframe or engine company. I believe that it is best if everyone goes into it well informed with their eyes wide open. I am always surprised how few people even Google the name of a person they are thinking of working with. You don’t need to see eye to eye with them on every point nor even love them, but the relationship must absolutely have trust and respect operating in both directions. In 25 years I have seen many builders try to justify buying a product from a provider they didn’t really trust. It never works out. It doesn’t matter how good it looks, what it costs or how great it is supposed to work, if it is from a bad guy, it isn’t worth buying.

I could write a quick paragraph about how I am a pilot, a 22 year A&P mechanic, and that I hold both an AS degree in Maintenance and a BS in Professional Aeronautics (accident investigation) From the worlds #1 aeronautical university, Embry-Riddle , but I don’t think that any of that explains my commitment to builders nearly as well as the flying planes of our builders and things we have accomplished. Henry Ford said “A man can not base his reputation on what he says he will do; only what he has done.”

I am plain spoken. to understand why, read the ‘Effective Risk Management’ story below. I have many friends who are experienced aviators who value plain talk. This type of speech also tends to offend people who dabble in aviation and would rather read polite things that align with their pet opinions. I am in aviation to share experience builders need to know, not say things people want to hear. Below are a selection of stories, some humorous, but all with a point, that give people a better understanding of who I am. From there you can decide if you choose to work with me as your engine mentor.

a) Fixing America is going to cost each of us $1.69

b) Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

c) In defense of plain speaking……

d) Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

e) A thought on Easter….

f) Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

g) Effective Risk Management – 2,903 words

.

—————————————————————————————.

9) Notes on trash from Bankrupt LLC’s:

Not all things called a Corvair represent my work or designs. Over the years, our success and willingness to share information has brought out a number of short lived LLC’s that were run by rip off artists, and mentally ill people. Particularly, there have been four businesses that made poor copies of our parts or untested garbage. All of these are bankrupt today. Because they were LLC’s they could take peoples money without any liability to repay it. Today, I have just heard that another is coming back with a new name. The story will never end as long as people don’t do their home work or believe that they are getting a bargain. You can read about one of these companies at this link: Cloudn’t have happened to a nicer guy……

I warn people all the time not to buy things from these people, or to buy this stuff at the flymart. For examples of things no one should have bought, look at this story: Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?

Let me be absolutely clear, that I will be polite to people, but I will not work on, offer advice on, or help with products made by bankrupt people that I considered vermin. If you have one of the engines from these LLC’s you are out of luck. I will not allow you to join our ‘Zenvair’ group nor will I allow you to attend any of the Colleges. This isn’t out of spite, it is to protect these builders lives. They all want to put a band aid on their bad purchase and make it “good enough to fly.” A band aid isn’t going to do it, an amputation is in order. People who blew $12K on Junk don’t want to hear this, they are still looking for a cheap out that doesn’t exist.  I will not assist them in the delusion that they have found one.

The Zenith Builders and flyers website has a small number of old posts from people who bought trash like this for their projects. If you look closely, these people offered great testimonials, but later abandoned their builds. On the same sites, I have builders like Larry Winger and Rich Whittington sharing that the same people took their money and delivered trash. Some people still don’t do their home work.

Below is a photo of a heavily damaged Zenith 750 with a Corvair in it.  At first glace you might think it was the work of one of our builders, but it is not. The photo was sent to me by the insurance agent who wanted to know who much it would cost to repair. I told him I wouldn’t touch it for any price.

The problem with the plane is that the owner bought from the wrong people, and later wanted a ‘band aid’ fix, and tried to alter his engine to look more like the ones we teach people to build. Looks don’t count, function does. This plane had a rear starter that deleted the harmonic balancer. This required a goofy motor mount to clar the ring gear in the back. After the builder had a number of failures with the original starter, the builder bought another crank from another LLC in Georgia and tried to set up the plane with front starter parts bought second hand. On one of the first flights after the band aid was applied, the entire prop hub assembly and the prop came off the plane in flight and it crashed. The reason for this was probably something as simple as having the wrong flange on the replacement crank. The owner didn’t tell the insurance company that he had applied the band aid, but they found out anyway, and when they did they started talking about voiding the coverage. All of this could have been avoided by doing some homework before the original purchase, or just starting over when he realized his mistake. This is why I don’t help people put band aids on things that need to be amputated.

Just one thing to look at: The two down tubes in the mount that support the cabin structure. Note that they are actually broken. Look closely and see that they had a direction change and a butt weld right in the middle of the tube to clear the original rear starter set up. That is pure trash put out by people with no education and purchased by people looking for a bargain.  I am not here to serve such people. I believe that people have a human right to end their lives, but this doesn’t require me to assist them in doing so.

………………..

The “Outlaw” Kitfox/Corvair project

Builders,

If you have ever thought of putting a Corvair on a Kitfox, here is a story to follow. Below are some pictures of a Corvair being sized up for a Tri-gear Kitfox model seven. We took these at Corvair College #30 two weeks ago.

.

The game plan here is to make a set of installation parts for Kitfox models 5 through 7. (They are the same ahead of the firewall.) It needs a unique motor mount, it looks like it will work with our standard #3601-S intake, our #3901C stainless exhaust and we are going to base the cowling on one of our #4102 Nose Bowls.

.

A Corvair builder in Texas already flew a 2,700cc Corvair on a Model 5, but it was a non-standard, hand built installation that did not have an aircraft carb. It worked, but not nearly up to the potential of the combination. I have another Texas builder, John Pitkin who is getting closer, but there are also one-off elements of his installation, and he is not in a hurry to get done. This time we have an eager builder who already has a completely standard 3,000cc Corvair done and test run at Corvair College #29. He brought the fuselage to CC#30 so I could get all the data I need to make the mount in Florida. This feels like the right plan coming together to see the plane done perhaps as soon as Oshkosh 2015.

.

Now we get to the “outlaw” part of this. I have long talked to John McBean, the owner of Kitfox about doing this. Some aircraft company owners like the Monnetts have politely asked that we don’t overtly promote Corvairs on their designs, and I respect that (The have now reversed their position on this) , others Like Sebastien Heintz said “Buy a kit and have at it.” McBean has been a third path, where he has expressed a desire to make some of the parts and have say over details. I wrote about different company perspectives in this story:  Selecting an engine for your experimental aircraft , but Mcbean’s approach doesn’t sound promising to me, mostly because he has never seen a running Corvair and glossed over how unique the exhaust systems are and that they use bed mounts.

.

At sun n Fun this year, we reached something of an impasse when he told me that he really wanted every Corvair installation to use one of his Lycoming cowls, a design 7″ too wide for a Corvair, simply because he wanted “his design” to have a “Certain Look.” At that point I decided that he is a good guy, but we have different views on things like who gets to choose how a plane looks (I say the builder does). The best solution is to develop the installation without any input from the Kitfox people. It is my personal belief that if a person buys a plane, it is their personal property, and they have the right to do with it what they want. Doing the firewall forward without the approval or input of the airframe kit maker is what I call an “Outlaw” installation. If you would like a look at how our nose bowls looks on different planes look at this link: Catching Up On Nosebowls ( p/n #4102 ) and at this one: STOL and utility planes for Corvair power.

.

If the factory says people shouldn’t use a Corvair on a model they sell, let them make a convincing technical argument why. If it is right, builders will not use Corvairs. Simply telling people to obey works with most people, but a large chunk of traditional homebuilders only follow good reasoning, not commands. Saying “I want your plane to have a certain look” isn’t a technical argument, it is an opinion about another man’s property. Saying “I make money if you buy a Rotax 912, so it is the right engine for your plane” is not a technical argument, it is just an opinion about how you should spend the money in your bank account. It works with some people, just not many of the ones I know and spend time with. When I want Corvair builder to do things like use forged pistons, I make a technical argument why they are needed and make sense. It is a different approach that requires treating builders as intelligent adults.

.

Many people are first concerned with what everyone else is doing before making a decision. They believe that finding out what most people are doing is the answer to doing it the ‘right’ way. Actually it is, if you are best described as an ‘average’ or ‘typical’ person. If there was one right way to build a plane, and it was based on what the ‘average’ person was doing, we would all be forced to read Mac McClellan’s editorials, then drive our imported mini van to the barber to get a John Edwards haircut while we read Flying magazine and the Sporties catalog. Then to the airport to use our swipe card at the chain link fence, go out to our Rotax 912 powered tri-geared plane with a glass cockpit, call ATC for permission to fly to the ‘practice area’, spend .8 hours there practicing something from a Rod Marchado video tape while never looking out the windows, Get permission to return to the airport, fly a pattern big enough for a 747-400 (because you were told to) land, put the plane away, and drive home wondering why some people talk about flying as ‘freedom’.

.

Conversely, it isn’t my goal in life to be like anyone else. My goal is to follow my own path, as determined by myself, using my rational brain that I was provided with, guided by things that I care about. In 51 years on this planet, I have only been brought closer to that path by people who loved me, and a salesman telling me I have to buy a Rotax 912 is not in the group of people who love me, and for the most part, neither are the people who tell you what you have to do without offering a rational argument. They are just trying to have you obey to make something work better for them, like guy in a tower trying to have you fly a 3 mile final. Traditional homebuilding is the exercise of becoming educated so you can use your rational mind to make choices that are right for you. I am not sorry is that is inconvenient for people who would prefer is everyone was ‘average’. If you have never read it, make a point this week to drive to your local library and spend the one hour it takes to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and understand it is an allegory about how the ‘flock’ attempts to peck any individual to death for not conforming and serving the ‘average’ need, but some individuals were not born to blindly serve the flock od society. Bach wrote it 40 years ago, but it is more important today than it was then.

.

——————————————————————-

.

608655blur

 .

Above, our mystery man builder, known by alias “318 Detroit” with his identity protected at CC#30. (Isn’t this what outlaws do?) Get a look at how much bigger the fuselage on this model 7 is in relation to the engine than in the bottom picture of a model 4 with a Corvair.

.

A very interesting side angle: Before the McBeans owned kitfox, the company built a large number of model 5 kits. If anyone is looking for a very inexpensive STOL plane option, you can run an ad on Barnstormers.com saying “Looking for unfinished model 5 kit.” We have ad 3 people do this, and on average they paid $9,000 for a complete kit that originally sold for more than $22,000. Technically these are not ‘factory supported’ in the same way as people who buy kits direct from the McBean’s, but they do have excellent manuals and they is a lot of on line know how from people who built them successfully.

.

The “outlaw” kit above is a second hand buy from Barnstormers. It’s original buyer bought nearly every option available, paying $30,000. He took it home but did virtually no work to it. (I have pointed out many times that our consumer culture indoctrinated people to be good at buying things, but poor at working on them.) Our mystery builder paid only $12,000, because it is a supply and demand issue, and deals like this will always be available as long as homebuilt completion rates are low. At CC#30 I sat down with Mr. “318 Detroit” and he showed me on paper that he is going to have a first class model 7, with a complete high end 3,000cc/12oHP Corvair, all of the items ahead of the firewall like the cowl and prop, and a basic instrument panel and a flight line radio for less money than the original owner paid for the kit.

.

This option is not for everyone, and I know from 25 years of working with experimental builders that there are many times more people who will drive to Oshkosh in a $500,000 Prevost motorhome, buy a brand new kit from the McBean’s, order a $40,000 fuel injected Rotax 912 engine and installation kit, and have someone build them a glass cockpit. If they get it done, they will have more than $100K in the plane. Are they taking the right path? Yes, for them. For a more traditional homebuilding oriented person with different goals, like our “outlaw” builder, the option is open to have a very similar performing plane, but a very different experience in homebuilding, for roughly 30% of the cost. Each of these two paths are the right one for the respective builders, and figuring that out for yourself is what making a good personal choice in homebuilding is all about.  Before too long another builder will come along, buy a model 5 kit off barnstormers for $7,500, buy some parts from us, put together a 2,700cc / 100HP engine with a Stromberg carb and a Weseman 5th  bearing, add some steam gauges and a hand held radio and have $16,000 in the plane, and he will probably wonder why our mystery builder chose to budget so much money.

.

135329

.

Above, a group photo, the freshly run 3,000 cc Corvair engine destined for the “outlaw” Kitfox is on the test stand as a centerpiece. This photo is from Corvair College #29. Can you guess which one of the 31 people in the photo is our mystery builder? Let me make it a little easier; From the left, it isn’t Grace nor ScoobE, The Son and Father Jameson team have their own 2700 Pietenpol engine, Vern works on our team, Bob Lester in the brown hat has a flying 2700 Pietenpol,…..

.

c79528

.

At left with me above is Kitfox CEO and owner John McBean. He stopped by the booth at Oshkosh 2013. He is a good guy, and I am not building an “Outlaw” installation to antagonize him, I just choose the term to differentiate the result from the possible co-operative effort we had previously spoken of. He has owned Kitfox for about 10 years, and put a lot of work into restoring the companies reputation, his family is known for very good customer service. I have done more than 50 different motor mount designs for Corvair installations, and more than a dozen very detailed firewall forward designs for Corvair powered planes. I will capitalize on this when working on the design of the model 5-7 installation this winter.

.

587850

.

Above, A kitfox model four in my shop getting a motor mount. The earlier owners of Kitfox made more than 1,000 model 4’s. They are smaller and lighter than a 5 through 7 models, really too light for a Corvair, but the owner of this plane is a friend who weighs about 160 pounds, so it still has a high useful load. We used a #2601R reverse Gold oil filter housing to get the engine right up to the firewall for the weight and balance to be right. the model 5 through & will have the harmonic balancer about 10″ from the firewall. The relationship between the model 4 and the 5-7 is very much like the difference between a Zenith 701 and a 750. they look alike, but the later planes are substantially bigger. This model 4 has it’s own 3,000cc Corvair, already built and run at a College. When completed, this large engine/small plane/light pilot combination will be a short field rocket. Read the whole story at this link: Kitfox Model IV with Corvair mount. -ww.

.

Corvair power for Panther and Sonex reference page

Builders,

I have collected in this one story a complete overview of the Corvair power option for builders considering or working on the SPA Panther kit aircraft and Sonex airframes.  These two aircraft are grouped together because both of these installations were developed by Dan Weseman, (SPA is his company) who offers airframe components that seamlessly work with our Corvair engine components.

Builders who are already working on, or flying a Corvair will be familiar with much of this material, but I bring it all together here for Panther and Sonex builders who are not yet familiar with the Corvair. If you would like to start with a simple three page spec sheet on the engine, read this link first: Basic Corvair information

.

c79903

Above, Oshkosh 2013: Dan Weseman selected the Corvair as the engine for his Panther prototype. He did not make the choice lightly. He has hundreds of hours of Corvair flight experience, developed the highly successful “Cleanex” (Corvair powered Sonex airframe combo), manufactures a number of Corvair flight products like 5th bearings and Billet Cranks, and is well known and respected in the Corvair movement. In 2009, we awarded him The Cherry Grove Trophy , as Corvair Aviator of the year.

.

The Panther:

The Panther was designed to take a very broad variety of engines from large VW’s to 160hp Lycomings. Dan has extensive flight and ownership experience with most Common light aircraft engines, but he selected the Corvair as his chosen introduction engine for the Panther for a number of good reasons. Not only is the engine powerful, smooth and reliable, it also supports Dan’s mission of keeping the plane affordable for rank and file homebuilders.

No rational man introduces a new aircraft with an engine he must make excuses for. Dan knew the Corvair would not disappoint the industry people and media who would be invited to fly the prototype. The most common thing said by highly experienced builders and designers who see the Panther perform 170 mph low passes, 1600 fpm climbs and aerobatic maneuvers is “I can’t believe that is powered by a car engine.” The Corvair in this installation has the performance to change aviators perspectives on the capabilities of auto conversion engines. Paul Dye, Editor in chief of Kitplanes, came to Florida to fly the plane. Very impressed, on the engine he commented that it functioned just like a Lycoming, just much smoother.

Above, Paul Dye, editor of Kitplanes returns from his flight in the Panther.

.

If you would like to see a visual example of how well the plane performs with a Corvair, get a look at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX_HN–ZQVI

.

You can read all the detailed information on the SPA website at this link:

,

http://flywithspa.com/panther.html

.

If would like to read about how this airframe flight tested Billet Cranks Made In The USA, click on the story title.

.

Above, enroute to Corvair College #16, ‘Son of Cleanex’ builder/pilot Chris Smith shot this photo of Dan Weseman off his wing as they flew up from Florida in loose formation. Although it is not for everyone, the Corvair when installed correctly in the Sonex airframe provided a high performance engine that is essentially immune to overheating issues.

.

The Sonex:

.

The Sonex is an outstanding light aircraft designed by John Monnett. It, and the Y-tailed Waiex have sold hundreds of aircraft kits. For 10 years,the Sonex factory approved only three engines for the airframe: the 2,180cc VW, and the 80 hp and 120 hp Jabbirus. The factory position firmly asserted that for an aircraft to be a Sonex, it must have one of these three engines. We’re personal friends with the Monnett family, and to respect their wishes, I carefully referred to the combination as a Corvair powered Sonex airframe, or Dan’s development as a “Cleanex” (a name Dan was slow to grow fond of.) I picked the name because Dan’s plane was a very clean build, that most people were stunned to find out was plans built, not a kit.

Recently in an EAA Webinar, Jeremy Monnett announced an company policy change of sorts, and stated that they were going to adopt a much softer line on this, comparative to other experimental airframe companies. Even with this change, we still refer to any Corvair powered Sonex or Waiex airframe that is adapted to Dan’s installation and uses our engine parts as a “Cleanex.” Like 1950’s Frankenstein movie sequels, a number of builders chose names for their planes like “Son of Cleanex”, “Bride of Cleanex” and “Daughter of Cleanex.”

Dan’s plane is an outstanding performer. I flew in it with Dan, on an 85 degree day off  our 2,400′  tree-lined grass airstrip in Florida. At the time our combined weight was 430 pounds and we had 12 gallons in the tank. If anyone tells you that VW’s are as powerful as Corvairs, they simply have never seen a Corvair in action. Dan’s plane could do an honest 155 mph on 5 gallon’s an hour, and top out above 175 mph.  Dan demonstrated many times that he could run the plane flat out at top speed for more than 40 minutes without the engine running hot.

I offered an opinionated Jabaru 3300 pilot $1,000 cash if his plane could beat Dan’s over a 100 mile course.  He didn’t take me up on it for a simple reason: he was afraid if he ran his $18K engine that hard for 40 minutes he would cook it. The speed would have required running the Jabaru 500 rpm over its factory approved continuous rating. GM designed the Corvair with a 5,500 rpm redline and a 575F CHT limit. Even at top speed, Dan’s Corvair is only using a fraction of these ratings. The is the key element in the Corvair’s reputation as a very robust power plant. It is approximately 25 pounds heavier than a 3300; much of the weight difference is in the Corvair’s cylinder heads which are literally covered in deep cooling fins.

If you would like to see for 120hp Corvairs taking off in succession, check out this link. Dan’s and Chris Smiths aircraft are two of the planes leaving Corvair College #16:

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK23b-BWptE

.

Above, Dan and his Cleanex in front of my hangar at Corvair College #8. (2004) Until his airplane was done and flying, we kept Dan’s identity a mystery. At the time, a few people who saw this photo made jokes about the “Builder Protection Program” with a nod toward John Monnett’s allegededly sharp temper about people putting other engines in his designs. In reality, Dan is friends with the Monnetts.  The Cigarette was part of the ploy, Dan has never been a smoker. Today, Sonex ltd. has a much more relaxed attitude about alternative engines.

In the above photo is from sun n Fun 2012, eight years later. Building a “cleanex” has a fun side also, where builders like to keep ‘traditions.’ From our 2012 SnF coverage, a picture and a comment that pre-dates the policy change by the Monnetts: “A Sonex builder next to Dan. We are having a good laugh disguising his identity because on his shoulder is a motor mount that mates the Sonex airframe to a Corvair engine, creating a “Cleanex.” Here we are kidding around about the  man in the yellow shirt entering “The Builder Identity Protection Program” because the combination is not approved by John Monnett, the airframe’s designer. In years past, John was known for having low tolerance for people modifying his excellent airframe designs. Truthfully, I know him fairly well and he really doesn’t get that upset about it as long as builders choosing other engines do not level unfair criticism at his selected engines.  There are now about 10 Cleanexes flying, and Dan is glad to work with any builder who has chosen the combination as long as they respectfully avoid Internet comments that would raise John Monnett’s blood pressure.

.

Many people have seen Dan and Grace flying aerobatics in “The Wicked Cleanex” on our Corvair Flyer #1 DVD. Continuous use of this type of operation led Dan to independently develop his own simple, retrofitable fifth bearing setup to reduce flight loads on the Corvair’s crankshaft. You can read about it on his website fly5thbearing.com. While people just getting into aviation occasionally view Dan’s flying as daring, I want to emphasize that it is a smooth display of skill and has nothing to do with daring or risk taking. I’ve gotten to know him pretty well, and around airplanes, Dan is pretty conservative. I would easily name him the steadiest pilot and most meticulous maintenance guy in the land of Corvairs.

.

Above is an early (2006) view of the Cleanex engine. Our Gold Hub and Front Starter system are clearly visible in the photo. Note that all of the engines we build have Lycoming style starter ring gears on the prop end of the engine. All of Dan’s installations use our arrangement. In the past, a handful of homebuilders and here today, gone tomorrow outfits put the ring gear on the firewall end of the Corvair. On a Sonex airframe, it is a critical that no builder operate with such a location because it puts the exposed, spinning, ring gear very close to the Sonex’s plastic fuel filler neck, which could lead to a disaster in an otherwise minor accident. To fly a ‘rear starter’ in a Sonex airframe is foolish, to promote it would be amoral.

.

The combination of the Sonex airframe and the Corvair proved very sucessful because Dan wisely chose a mixture of our proven parts and systems, clever craftsmanship and practical hot rodding.  Once Dan showed people what the plane was capable of, it was more frequently called “The Wicked Cleanex.”  Over time the plane served as a test bed for a number of  our parts like the Gold Prop hub and the reverse gold oil filter housing. Dan used it to prove out his popular 5th bearing system. You can read more of the story of the airplane at Dan’s Web site, www.flycleanex.com

……….

Our approach to serving builders is different than typical businesses geared only to sell things to consumers. Our goal is to assist you on your path to becoming a more skilled aviator. The products we sell support this, but simply getting you to buy things is not what I am in aviation to accomplish.

_____________________

.

This page is broken into the following sections:

.

1) Introduction

2) Engine and build options

3) installation components

4) Support for builders

5) Flying Panther and Cleanex info.

6) Builders in process

7) flight data and safety notes

8) who is WW?

9) Comments on dangerous trash.

.

At the end of each section there are links to supporting stories that have expanded information on concepts discussed in the section. Take your time and study it carefully.

I will be glad to answer further questions just email WilliamTCA@aol.com or call 904-529-0006. You can also check our two websites, http://flycorvair.net/ , http://flycorvair.com/ . The first is our ‘newspaper’ the second is our ‘library’ and ‘store.’ The links below are stories that already appear on these two sites, they are just arranged here to support this introduction to Corvair power for Panther and Cleanex builders. For installation components in section four, contact Dan and Rachel directly.

——————————————————-

In the foreground above is Dan Weseman’s Wicked Cleanex. Off his wing, Chris Smith flies the Son Of Cleanex. The photo was taken over a bend in the St. Johns River in North Florida.

.

1) Introduction:

The Corvair has been flying since 1960, and I have been working with them as flight engines since 1989. It is a story of careful development and testing, a slow evolution to the engines we have today. It is ‘old and proven’ rather than ‘new and exciting.’  If that approach appeals to you, read on. There is a lot of material here, and it isn’t something you are going to absorb in one quick scan. Frankly, your engine selection deserves careful consideration, and it isn’t the kind of decision you should make based on a 4 page sales brochure.

Corvairs have proven themselves to serve a very broad variety of builders. Many alternative engine options are offered only as a “buy it in a box” import, more of an appliance than a machine, with little or no consideration of the builders, skills goals, needs, budget or time line. The Corvair has options to address these valid considerations, because your power plant should conform to you, not the other way around.

This said, Corvairs are not for everyone.  In the 25 years I have been in the EAA and working with builders, the Corvair has always been very popular with ‘traditional homebuilders’, the people who have come to experimental aviation to discover how much they can learn, understand and master.  The expansion of the EAA has brought more of these builders, but it has also brought a great number of people incapable of distinguishing between mastery of an aircraft or an engine and just merely being its buyer and owner.  People who’s consumer mentality and short attention spans are better suited to toy ownership than mastery of skills and tools in aviation. Corvairs, and perhaps experimental aviation, are a poor match for such people. Many salesmen in our field will gladly sell anything to anyone with green money. I am an aviator, not a salesman, and the gravity of the subject requires more frank discussion and ethics than many salesmen bring to the table.

If you came to experimental aviation to find out how much you can master, not how little, then you are among the aviators who follow Lindbergh’s timeless 1927 quote: “Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved.”  Even if you are brand new to aviation, I am glad to work with you. I have a long history of working with builders of all skill levels. We have a number of successful builders out flying their Zeniths who are the masters of both their airframes and engines, who had never changed the oil in a car before building their plane.  If you got into experimental aviation just to buy stuff, then any salesman will do just fine for you. If you got into experimental aviation to learn, develop your own skills and craftsmanship and make things with your own hands, then who you work with really matters. You can’t become and old school homebuilder / motor head by buying things from salesmen. They have nothing to teach you. What you will do in experimental aviation is not limited by what you already know. It is only limited by what you are willing to learn, and selecting experienced people to learn from.  If you are here to learn, I am here to teach. It is that simple.

.

—————————————————————————-

a) – Complete Lindbergh quote is here: The Quote, 1927, C.A.L.

b) – Explanation of machines vs appliances : Machines vs Appliances Part #2

c) – Story of real engines vs ‘ideal’ ones: Unicorns vs Ponies.

d) – A direct explanation of what makes my work different: 2011 Outlook & Philosophy

e) – A moving statement of philosophy: Sterling Hayden – Philosophy

——————————————————-

.

Above, a 3,000 cc Corvair, The actual engine in the Panther Prototype.  The Corvair is an inherently simple engine, It’s opposed six configuration makes it the smoothest of available power plants. It has outstanding cooling because GM put a tremendous amount of cooling fins on it and  gave it a factory CHT redline of 575F. All of our engine parts are made in the United States, as are the airframe parts from SPA.

.

2) Engine and build options:

.

If you are new to Corvairs, lets quickly cover some ground: General  Motors made 1.8 million Corvairs. brand new parts, including billet cranks, forged pistons, valves bearings,  virtually every single part inside is currently made and readily available, and will remain so. Rebuildable Corvair engines are plentiful, and much easier to find that Lycomings or Continentals. We have been working with Corvairs for 25 years, and there is no shortage of core engines or parts. If you doubt this for a second, Google “Corvair engine parts.”

The Corvair makes an outstanding aircraft engine because it is a simple, compact, direct drive, horizontally opposed six cylinder, air cooled engine. It is robust, and ‘flat rated ‘ from it’s automotive output. The engine runs equally well on automotive fuel and 100LL, and it does not care about ethanol. In its 53 year flight history, more than 500 experimental aircraft have flown on Corvair power.

The engine can be built in three displacements with three respective power outputs. They are 2,700cc / 100HP, 2,850cc / 110HP and 3,000cc / 120HP. The two smaller displacements weigh 230 pounds, the larger actually weighs 8 pounds less because it uses lighter cylinders. All engines are completely rebuilt from very high quality parts before flight. They are not just removed from cars. The parts we use are specifically selected to convert the engine for the rigors of flight use. Forged pistons, Inconel valves, chrome rings, ARP rod bolts and many other components are upgraded in the rebuild.

To absorb the propeller and flight loads a “5th bearing” is added. It is a billet housing with a very large bearing from a V-8, bolted on the end of the case. The ignition is redundant and utilizes two 40,000 volt systems, one driven by digital electronics the size of a match book, the other by a traditional set of points. The engine is direct drive, it has no complex reduction unit. It makes good thrust because it has more than twice the cubic inches of a Rotax 912. All of the systems on the engine are intentionally patterned after those on Lycomings and Continentals, because they are the  model of success in proven aircraft power plants. People who do not acknowledge certified engines as excellent models of success are often just zealots.  To succeed in experimental aviation you need dispassionate information not emotional opinion.

One of the unique features of the Corvair is that it can be built at home, from our information and parts and a locally acquired rebuildable engine, or it can be purchased from us, test run with logs. 90% of current builders are building their own engine at home. Only 10% of the builders opt to have us build their engine. We have happy to serve both builders. In either case, Corvairs are the best match for builders who want to understand and be the master of their engine.

Because of the plans built vs production engine nature of the Corvair, there are large variations in how much builders budgets run. Below is a quick look at the differences. Keep in mind, these budgets are for first class, completely overhauled, zero timed engines with 5th bearings, starting, ignition and charging systems. We have clever builders who have built and flown engines for less than $3,000, but this not representative of main line builders. The numbers below are much better for Zenith builders to budget on.

.

2,700cc / 100HP typical homebuilders budget: $6,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $9,750

2,850cc / 110HP typical homebuilders budget: $7,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $10,750

3,000cc / 120HP typical homebuilders budget: $8,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $11,750

.

If you are attracted to the concept of building your own engine, but have not built motors before, Good.  About half of our builders have never built any kind of an engine before. Our main work is teaching people what we know and providing the parts to work with. Our system does not require anyone to be a machinist nor to have previous engine experience.

The procedure of building an engine in your shop follows this format:

1) Get a conversion manual and DVD’s from us, use them to find a rebuild able core engine locally. Disassemble this engine following the steps in the DVD.

2) Send the crank and heads to our approved facilities for rebuilding and modification. They come back ready to ‘bolt on.’ Other parts of the engine are cleaned and inspected. The parts to convert the engine are ordered from us, many of the standard rebuild parts like lifters and gaskets are available from local auto parts stores. We do not ‘middle man’ anything you can directly buy.

3) Assemble these parts according to the manual and DVDs. There is no machine work required, only basic tools are needed, and a few specialty tools like a torque wrench. Many builders attend our free Corvair Colleges and directly learn hands on skills. You can even bring your parts and assemble them under our supervision, and test run your engine on our equipment. College attendance is a plus, but not required. Our methods work without direct training; a good number of engines are built and flown each year by builders who have never met me in person.

4) The test run serves several purposes. We teach people to build one of  three specific models, and we teach them to use specific parts. Not only are these proven, but it also allows me to verify from a remote location that the engine was assembled correctly. A builder can report his static rpm, CHT, oil temp during the test run with his Warp Drive prop at the specified setting, and I can confirm the output and assembly of the engine without seeing it personally.

If you would like a sample of the information on working your way through the above four steps, get a look at this: Getting Started in 2013, part #1, Crankshaft process options.

We also have all of the ‘getting started’ series on a single page, at this link: Getting Started Reference page.

I have broken down building a Corvair and installing it on your airframe into 42 “groups”. Part #1 is about  ’Group 1000′ the crankshaft. If you would like to look at every part that goes into a Corvair, along with the conversion parts we sell, look at Groups 1000 -3300 at this link to our catalog: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html

If you would like to read above the value of proven engines, read: Why Not the Panther engine?

All builders get started with a conversion manual. The first part of the above link is about manuals and DVD’s.  The direct link to the manual is: http://www.flycorvair.com/manual.html. almost all builders looking for a rebuild able engine also order the Disassembly  DVD, which covers core engine selection visually. The direct link to it is: http://www.flycorvair.com/videov.html We encourage everyone to get started with information, even if you are pretty sure you would like to purchase a production engine from us. If you eventually buy an engine from us, we directly reduce the price to rebate all the money you spent on manuals and DVD’s.

.

———————————————–

a) – Corvair Weight story: Corvair vs O-200…. weight comparison

b) –  Samples of our production engines:  2012 Corvair Engines For Sale: 100, 110 and 120 HP

c) – For an explanation of ‘flat rating’ and an engine build : Shop perspective: Mastery or ?

d) – A story about engines running on our hangar Dyno: http://www.flycorvair.com/thrust.html

e) Engine of “Cleanex” builder: World’s Strongest 3,000cc Corvair, built by Greg Crouchley

f) A story about the evolution on 120HP Corvairs: 3,000 vs 3,100 cc Corvair engines.

.

_______________________________

.

Above, a 2009 photo from our workshop. I kneel in the workshop next to motor mount Number 100 for the 601 XL.  Most experimental aircraft companies, both large and small, fail because for two simple reasons; First, the ownership cannot physically make the product the sell, and second, their financial backers are unwilling to go several years before seeing the payoff.  Neither of these conditions are true about our business nor SPA/Panther. We are craftsman and homebuilders first, and neither of us has partners nor investors. Few people new to experimental aviation understand that this is key to company stability and longevity, not big size nor flashy promotion.

.

3) Installation Components for the Panther & “Cleanex”:

.

Normally we provide every part it takes to install a Corvair in your airframe.  The Panther and the Cleanex are different because Dan developed these specific installations himself.   It is important to understand that these installations work seamlessly with our engine components, and they are custom adaptations of systems that have long been proven to work very well.  In the case of the Sonex airframe, there have been a handful of other people who tried, with poor results, to put a Corvair on that airframe. If you have heard a poor report on a Corvair powered Sonex, it is important to understand not all Corvairs in these airframes are people following Dan’s proven path.

Here’s a 2004 view of the underside of the Cleanex’s motor mount. Dan designed this mount combining the basic geometry of the Sonex airframe’s landing gear attach points and our traditional Corvair bed mount. The structure is well thought out and perfectly triangulated. Although it looks heavy, it is not. It weighs 13.8 pounds, only four pounds heavier than the factory Jabbiru 3,300 mount. Dan’s mount has flown hundreds of aerobatic maneuvers. Dan’s motor mount page is here: http://flywithspa.com/flycleanexcom/cleanexenginemount.html

.

  Being air cooled and carbureted, The Corvair is one of the easiest engines to install. Many companies that are good at selling things are poor at teaching things, like how to install their products. Teaching is the very cornerstone of my work, I am a skilled writer, we run Corvair Colleges, and we have a simple engine. All this adds up to a comparatively easy engine to install. There is no need to rush it, but I can do it working in one long day.

 Installation part numbers are Groups 3400 through 4300 in the second half of our numbering system. Get a look at this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html It contains installation component lists for other Corvair powered airframes, but the list is very similar to the required items for Dan’s installations. The detail items on electrical and fuel systems are identical, and you can review the SPA website for the specific details on the Panther and Cleanex installation components. There are many good photos here: http://flywithspa.com/flycleanexcom/cleanexphotos.html

For the Cleanex, Dan and Rachel offer their own Nose bowls, Cowls, Mounts, baffle kits, Exhausts and intake manifolds. While you are there, get a look at his 5th bearings, rear alternators and Billet Cranks. A sample of their parts page is here: http://flywithspa.com/flycleanexcom/cleanexnosebowl.html

Dan and Rachel are just in the process of organizing the Panther/Corvair components like the mount, cowl, intake, exhaust and baffling.  You can check the Panther website for up to date information on these parts. If you would like to see the Panther engine runninga prop test, click on this link: Panther
Engine propeller test

Although the Panther is new, the systems are fully tested and well proven. It is important for builders to understand the engine test program went flawlessly because it used custom variations on proven systems. For example, the Panthers exhaust is made from the same materials and processes and uses similar design to the stainless systems we have made for other airframes for more than 10 years. The carburation, intake, cooling and spinner are also variations on long proven themes.

Many people new to building initially think that very economical engines like the Corvair must also be inexpensive to install. In reality, the cost of items like motor mounts and cowls are not affected by the cost of the engine they mount and house.  A mount for a $30K UL-350 and a $7K Corvair have about the same amount to tubing and welding time in them, and thus cost about the same. Most engines have installation kits with exhaust, cowl prop spinner etc, run from $3,000 to $6,000. The Corvair is near the bottom of this range, but the savings of using the Corvair is mostly in the engine, not the cost of installing it.

Above, Chris Smiths plan’e uncowled with Dan’s in the background. A ground run cooling shroud sits atop Chris’s engine. Dan stand on the edge of this 2007 photo I took in his hangar.

—————————————–

a) – For an example of 74 years of aircraft welding talent: Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A) Both Vern and I are friends with Dan and assisted him with some of the welded parts that went into the Panther prototype. Dan is a skilled craftsman and a welder on par with us.

b) – To learn about the Stainless exhausts we make: Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems . These are identical in material and construction to the Panther and Cleanex stainless systems.

c) – Louis Kantor’s 601XL running for the first time in our front yard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=626uwVbc0gM The plane is one of more than a hundred  Corvair powered planes that utilize Dan’s 5th bearing. Dan used his Cleanex as the chase plane on this planes first flight.

____________________________

.

Above, 2004 at Oshkosh: Next to our personal Corvair powered Zenith N-1777W, I explain our dual ignition arrangement two executives from Falcon insurance, The EAA’s provider. To offer real support, an alternative engine provider must be an effective advocate for his builders on many fronts, including meeting the requirements of underwriters. Just being an engine guru is not nearly enough. Corvair engines that follow our design,  including to ones assembled by builders, are fully insurable at the lowest rates, right from the first flight, because they have an outstanding safety record. Having good effective hands on support is a critical element in this outstanding record.

.

4) Support for Builders:

.

Builders selecting a Corvair for their Panther or Cleanex project have an advantage that is hard to overstate; Because Dan and I have been friends for more than 10 years, I am very familiar with both of his installations. I followed his Panther development from the first sketch through the flight test program. While the design can and will be flown on a broad variety of engines, it will be a long time before any other alternative engine provider understands the design and program as well I do.

Many new builders mistakenly believe that they can marry any engine they like to their chosen airframe. In reality, compatibility goes far beyond horsepower ratings and weights. To be successful, it is critical that the engine match the designers perspectives on reliability, risk management and ethics. Differences on these subjects create issues builders can rarely resolve themselves; conversely, having both support teams share the same perspective gives builders strong allies. In 25 years of working with homebuilts I have met many designers and innovators I respect, but my personal perspectives share more common ground with Dan’s than any other person I know in this industry. Please take a moment to read: Panther Roll out.

.

Beyond the basic engine and installation components, we offer many forms of support to Corvair builders. :

.

a) We have a flight operations manual with specific test flight plans and procedures: http://www.flycorvair.com/ops09.html Dan wrote one of the chapters in this manual to share his experience with Corvair builders.

.

 b) We hold 4 free hands on technical seminars called “Corvair Colleges” every year.  For an introduction to Colleges, read this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/cc21.html  An overview of upcoming colleges is at this link:  Upcoming events, Airshows and Colleges #26-28. If you would like to see video of a College, here is a link to Corvair College #17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfa85e3ibI4&playnext=1&list=PL1D40A102EC2A194D&feature=results_video Dan and Rachel attend many of the colleges and were our Co-hosts at Corvair College #23.

.

c) Woody Harris, subject of this story:  Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris Is our West Coast representative. Although we have held 5 Corvair Colleges in California,  we only make one trip to the west per year. Woody covers all the shows and events from Arlington to Copper State when we can’t be there.

.

e) I am the last guy in aviation who still makes free house calls. Over the years I have made more than 400 in person visits builders projects. I travel extensively, and go out of my way to include builders workshops on these trips.  These stops and the colleges allow me to really understand the needs, strengths and dreams of rank and file builders that no one can read in email or at an airshow. for a sample, read this story: Corvair House Call, Range: 335 miles.

.

f)  By my continued advocacy and industry relations, Corvairs have full insurance, at the lowest rates, available from a number of sources. If you would like to find out more Contact Bob Mackey, VP of Falcon insurance, The EAA’s designated provider, seen on the left in the photo above.

.

g) Over the years, we have built a very tight knit community of like minded builders. If you read this story about fools at our county airport: A visit to the insane asylum, and it sounds like your airport, and if your local EAA chapter is devoid of homebuilders and filled with negative people, you will find the Corvair movement to be a powerful antidote. Many Corvair builders catch several colleges a year, there they find positive, outgoing, energetic builders, effectively making the Colleges their “local EAA chapter” We have worked very hard to attract outstanding people interested in accomplishing their goals. I  go out of my way to encourage new builders but I am intolerant of people who are compulsively negative. I am willing to be a cheerleader, but not a therapist.

.

——————————————

Above, Chris Smith’s Cleanex after painting. Chris was building a Sonex airframe from a kit and met Dan as Dan’s airplane neared completion. Chris opted to build a close copy of Dan’s aircraft. Although Chris had many years of flying experience, he had never built an aircraft before. Because of this, he wisely chose to follow Dan’s proven format closely. When Chris’ aircraft was done, it earned the nickname “Son of Cleanex.” It first flew at the end of 2006, and it served Chris through several hundred hours flying over the southeastern United States. Today the aircraft is owned by Ron Monson, who has put a great number of flying videos of it on You-tube.

.

5) Examples of flying Corvair powered Sonexes:

.

IMG_3091

Above, The Cleanex of Dale Williams taxis out at Corvair Colle #27. Read more on the man and the plane here: New 3,000 cc Cleanex, Dale Williams, SC

Above, Cleanex by Chuck Custer, after flying to Corvair College #25. This aircraft is one of approximately 12 that have flown utilizing Dan’s installation.

.

———————————————–

Above, Clarence Dunkerley beside his 2850 cc Weseman bearing equipped powerplant destined for his Cleanex project. Sharp eyes will  notice that this is equipped with the Reverse Gold Oil Filter Housing which we developed specifically  for Corvairs going into Sonex airframes. Photo taken at Corvair College#21.

.

6) Examples of Builders working on this Combination:

.

Many experimental aircraft companies like to tout how many of their product has sold as a measure of  success. Sales numbers on only a measure of their success, not that of builders. The only number that counts are how many builders that make it all the way to flying and enjoying their creation. It is a fact of marketing that it is far easier to keep finding new buyers to spend money than it is to support the ones that already spent the money, all the way through flight.  This is why many aircraft companies have planned lifespans of only 48 months, so they make all the sales and fold up the tent before they have to do the real work of supporting builders.

We are very different.  I have been working with Corvair builders since 1989. I am in this for the long haul, and my measure of success is getting people flying. Likewise, Dan has been working with Corvairs since 2003, and has been offering parts like his 5th bearing design since 2006.  If you select a Corvair engine, we will be your allies in completing your plane, just as I have been for many others before you.

If your goal is to merely buy something, you need only find a salesman with an engine to sell. If your goal is to learn about, understand, build and fly your plane, you need an instructor-guide-mentor, an aviator not a salesman. Think it over: If your goal was to climb mount Everest, there would be plenty of people you could buy equipment from, but that isn’t the same thing as finding a Sherpa who has been to the top to act as your instructor and guide.  A big part of why experimental aircraft have a 20% completion rate is that most people purchasing a kit or an engine have not spent 3 minutes learning how to differentiate between a salesman and a guide.

Below are a sample of our builders, each of whom I am going to see all the way through their aircraft finished and flying:

Above, Cliff Rose, Cleanex builder from Florida, with his 2700 cc, Weseman bearing, Falcon head engine with Reverse Gold Oil System. Cliff  spared no expense to acquire all the parts of his engine. Still, he spent less than one third the cost of an imported engine. More importantly, he has the well earned  pride of creating his own engine. Photo taken at Corvair College #19.

Above, Aerospace engineer Paul Salter stands beside the Panther prototype. Paul is close friends with Dan and Rachel and has played a significant supporting role in the Panther introduction. He is building Panther beta airframe #2 for himself, and he is already collected most of the parts to assemble his own 3,000cc /120hp Corvair, which will be a direct clone of the Corvair in Dan’s prototype.

Above, Phil Maxson (Left) gets his airworthiness certificate for his 2700cc Corvair powered 601XL from legendary DAR Johnny Murphy, in our old Edgewater hangar in 2006. Today, Phil still flies and enjoys it, but is also well at work on Panther Production kit #1, which will be powered by a 3,000cc Corvair. We awarded Phil The Cherry Grove Trophy for 2013, as Corvair aviator of the year.

c37606

Above, Waiex builder Greg Crouchley stands beside me after the test run of his Corvair at our hangar in 2012. Although headed into a Waiex, Greg’s engine is essentially a clone of the Panther’s, including a Weseman billet crank. Read about the man and the engine at this link:World’s Strongest 3,000cc Corvair, built by Greg Crouchley 

If you would like to read a story about and see the film on a running 3,000cc Corvair for a Sonex built at a College, Click on this link: Corvair College #27 run on film. It is the engine of Amit Ganjoo, who is also the builder with the yellow bag over his head in the photo at the beginning of this story.

.

———————————————-

.

7) Operational Data for this combination:

Dan and Rachel’s website will be the primary source of performance data for Panther and Cleanex builders. Our website have a continuous flow of discussion on Corvair operations for all types of airframes. If you would like to read a story about detailed flight data collection on a 2,850cc 750, check out this link: CHT part #5, flight data from Zenith 750 . It is an example of the type of information exchanged between our builders.  If you are drawn to aviator’s groups made of intelligent thinking people, you will fit right in with Corvair builders.

Here is a visual example of testing: Panther Engine propeller test

And you can also read a story on operations here: Starting
procedures on Corvairs, 2,000 words of experience.
 Our .net website has more than 375 different stories on it, about 225 of them are purely technical posts with expanded operational information and experience.

I have long stated that I can teach a 12 year old how to assemble an engine, but what we are really trying to share with people is a knowledge base that will effectively allow them to master the engine and use it with good judgment, something a 12 year old (and some adults)  cannot do. If some of the articles that I write don’t initially sound like a set of instructions, consider for a moment that the message of the artice may be about the critical element of Judgment.

If you would like a single example to effectively demonstrate that I am an aviator not a salesman, it is the type of data that I discuss with builders. No salesmen will acknowledge accidents nor difficulties that involved their products, even circumstantially.

Conversely, I am here to teach people what they need to know. I have a long history of writing about subjects that salesmen wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I write about accidents and friends I have lost, honest mistakes people made and things you can learn from them.  Just about everything know in aviation cost someone dearly to learn. If you are unwilling to talk about these things in plain language, people are doomed to repeat them.

.

Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place. is the story of our only fatal accident in a Corvair powered Zenith. (There is another below, but it was a different company) The NTSB pointed to an incorrectly assembled carb, but read the story and decide if judgment isn’t the root cause.

“If only someone had told him……” is a story about people who don’t listen. Guy A and Guy B were both Zenith 601 builders. Guy B was the passenger in the First 650 accident (AMD airframe- O-200 engine, ruled pilot error). Guy A was a well known and liked Zenith builder and flyer, who quit aviation after this incident.

Risk Management, Factor #1, Judgement. Covers how developing and exercising judgment is paramount to managing your own personal risk.

Risk Management, Experience vs Judgement. Ken Terry was a friend of mine and a huge influence on Grace’s flying, and her development as a pilot. The story is about how experience, even 40,000 hours of it is not a defense compared to exercising good judgment.

587930

Dan Weseman and Dave Dollarhide having a good time at Sun n Fun 2013. They both are in the last story “Friday night” in the link “Three aviation stories”.

.

 Three Aviation Stories  covers my personal perspective on risk, and what level is worth managing, and how aviators come do deal with this. It speaks of meeting Al Haynes at two points in my life, 14 years and a world of experience apart. It also covers how several members of our EAA chapter each looked at loosing two friends.

.

——————————————-

Above, A photo taken at Sun n Fun 2006. My wife Grace Ellen and myself, in front of the first Corvair powered Zenith, our own N-1777W. The plane was the first XL model with conventional gear.  Grace is a skilled pilot in her own right. She has been a pilot longer than I have, holds more advanced ratings and owns two aircraft. As a point of ethics, we do not promote, advocate nor sell things we have not personally flown behind.

.

8) Who is William Wynne?

Modern consumer sales logic dictates that that business should ‘de-personalize’ themselves so consumers find nothing objectionable about the provider while they are spending money.  That model may work elsewhere, and even have advocates experimental aviation, but I don’t buy it.  I contend that Aviation is a different arena, and who you are dealing with, and their ethics, experience and perspective matters.

Building a plane or an engine is a marriage of sorts between the builder and his airframe or engine company. I believe that it is best if everyone goes into it well informed with their eyes wide open. I am always surprised how few people even Google the name of a person they are thinking of working with. You don’t need to see eye to eye with them on every point nor even love them, but the relationship must absolutely have trust and respect operating in both directions. In 25 years I have seen many builders try to justify buying a product from a provider they didn’t really trust. It never works out. It doesn’t matter how good it looks, what it costs or how great it is supposed to work, if it is from a bad guy, it isn’t worth buying.

I could write a quick paragraph about how I am a pilot, a 22 year A&P mechanic, and that I hold both an AS degree in Maintenance and a BS in Professional Aeronautics (accident investigation) From the worlds #1 aeronautical university, Embry-Riddle , but I don’t think that any of that explains my commitment to builders nearly as well as the flying planes of our builders and things we have accomplished. Henry Ford said “A man can not base his reputation on what he says he will do; only what he has done.”

I am plain spoken. to understand why, read the ‘Effective Risk Management’ story below. I have many friends who are experienced aviators who value plain talk. This type of speech also tends to offend people who dabble in aviation and would rather read polite things that align with their pet opinions. I am in aviation to share experience builders need to know, not say things people want to hear. Below are a selection of stories, some humorous, but all with a point, that give people a better understanding of who I am. From there you can decide if you choose to work with me as your engine mentor.

.

a) Fixing America is going to cost each of us $1.69

b) Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

c) In defense of plain speaking……

d) Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

e) A thought on Easter….

f) Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

g) Effective Risk Management – 2,903 words

.

—————————————————————————————.

.

9) Notes on trash:

Not all things called a Corvair represent my work or designs. Over the years, our success and willingness to share information has brought out a number of short lived companies that were run by rip off artists, and mentally ill people. Particularly, there have been four businesses that made poor copies of our parts or untested garbage. All of these are bankrupt today. Today, I have just heard that another is coming back with a new name. The story will never end as long as people don’t do their home work or believe that they are getting a bargain. You can read about one of these companies at this link: Cloudn’t have happened to a nicer guy……

I warn people all the time not to buy things from these people, or to buy this stuff at the flymart. For examples of things no one should have bought, look at this story: Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?

Let me be absolutely clear, that I will be polite to people, but I will not work on, offer advice on, or help with products made by bankrupt people that I considered vermin.  Nor will I allow these people to attend any of the Colleges. This isn’t out of spite, it is to protect these builders lives. They all want to put a band aid on their bad purchase and make it “good enough to fly.” A band aid isn’t going to do it, an amputation is in order. People who blew $12K on junk don’t want to hear this, they are still looking for a cheap out that doesn’t exist.  I will not assist them in the delusion that they have found one.

On line discussion groups and websites have a small number of old posts from people who bought trash like this for their projects. If you look closely, these people offered great testimonials, but later abandoned their builds. Look at the dates on many of these posts and then compare them to FAA aircraft registrations on Landings.com.  From looking at our sites you can see photos of dozens and dozens real builders with real names and flying planes. I encourage builders to do their home work; our track record will speak for itself. -ww.

.

Zenith 601/650 – Corvair reference page

Builders,

Here is a single location page that has a great number of links to information specific to the Zenith 601/650 / William Wynne-Corvair Combination.  It is a particularly good match, we have a number of different ways to approach it that serve the needs of many different builders, and it is a success story that builds on our 10 year history of working with Zenith builders, starting with our own personal 601XL in 2003. Since then we have assisted more than 80 builders to complete and fly their Corvair powered Zeniths.

If you already are working on your Corvair, this page will have information you have seen already on our websites, but I have included it so that this page can function as a ‘stand alone’ guide for 601/650 builders who have just heard about our work with the Corvair. Our approach to serving builders is different than typical businesses geared only to sell things to consumers. Our goal is to assist you on your path to becoming a more skilled aviator. The products we sell support this, but simply getting you to buy things is not what I am in aviation to accomplish. If you would like to start with a simple three page spec sheet on the engine, read this link first: Basic Corvair information

This page is broken into the following sections:

.

1) Introduction

2) Engine and build options

3) installation components

4) Support for builders

5) Flying 601/650s

6) Builders in process

7) 601/650 flight data and safety notes

8) who is WW?

9) Comments on dangerous trash.

.

At the end of each section there are links to supporting stories that have expanded information on concepts discussed in the section. Take your time and study it carefully.

I will be glad to answer further questions just email WilliamTCA@aol.com or call 904-529-0006. You can also check our two websites, http://flycorvair.net/ , http://flycorvair.com/ . The first is our ‘newspaper’ the second is our ‘library’ and ‘store.’ The links below are stories that already appear on these two sites, they are just arranged here to support this introduction to Corvair power for 601/650 builders.

Above, Phil’s Maxson’s 601XL airborne over the Florida coast at Ponce Inlet, 2006. Phil finished the plane in our Edgewater hangar and has been flying the plane ever since. It has proven to be economical and reliable over the long run. Phil is a skilled manager from the Fortune 500 world of business and could have purchased any engine on the market, yet he selected the Corvair as the best match to his personal goals of Learn Build and Fly.-ww

.

1) Introduction:

The Corvair has been flying since 1960, and I have been working with them as flight engines since 1989. It is a story of careful development and testing, a slow evolution to the engines we have today. It is ‘old and proven’ rather than ‘new and exciting.’  If that approach appeals to you, read on. There is a lot of material here, and it isn’t something you are going to absorb in one quick scan. Frankly, your engine selection deserves careful consideration, and it isn’t the kind of decision you should make based on a 4 page sales brochure.

Corvairs have proven themselves to serve a very broad variety of builders. Many alternative engine options for the Zenith are offered only as a “buy it in a box” import, more of an appliance than a machine, with little or no consideration of the builders, skills goals, needs, budget or time line. The Corvair has options to address these valid considerations, because your power plant should conform to you, not the other way around.

This said, Corvairs are not for everyone.  In the 25 years I have been in the EAA and working with builders, the Corvair has always been very popular with ‘traditional homebuilders’, the people who have come to experimental aviation to discover how much they can learn, understand and master.  The expansion of the EAA has brought more of these builders, but it has also brought a great number of people incapable of distinguishing between mastery of an aircraft or an engine and just merely being its buyer and owner.  People who’s consumer mentality and short attention spans are better suited to toy ownership than mastery of skills and tools in aviation. Corvairs, and perhaps experimental aviation, are a poor match for such people. Many salesmen in our field will gladly sell anything to anyone with green money. I am an aviator, not a salesman, and the gravity of the subject requires more frank discussion and ethics than many salesmen bring to the table.

If you came to experimental aviation to find out how much you can master, not how little, then you are among the aviators who follow Lindbergh’s timeless 1927 quote: “Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved.”  Even if you are brand new to aviation, I am glad to work with you. I have a long history of working with builders of all skill levels. We have a number of successful builders out flying their Zeniths who are the masters of both their airframes and engines, who had never changed the oil in a car before building their plane.  If you got into experimental aviation just to buy stuff, then any salesman will do just fine for you. If you got into experimental aviation to learn, develop your own skills and craftsmanship and make things with your own hands, then who you work with really matters. You can’t become and old school homebuilder / motor head by buying things from salesmen. They have nothing to teach you. What you will do in experimental aviation is not limited by what you already know. It is only limited by what you are willing to learn, and selecting experienced people to learn from.  If you are here to learn, I am here to teach. It is that simple.

.

—————————————————————————-

a) – Complete Lindbergh quote is here: The Quote, 1927, C.A.L.

b) – Explanation of machines vs appliances : Machines vs Appliances Part #2

c) – Story of real engines vs ‘ideal’ ones: Unicorns vs Ponies.

d) – An example of our ling standing working relationship with Zenith: Friday out of shop until 4pm.

e) – A direct explanation of what makes my work different than typical LLC’s : 2011 Outlook & Philosophy

f) – A moving statement of philosophy: Sterling Hayden – Philosophy

.

Above, the 3,000 cc Corvair, configured for a Zenith 601/650. An inherently simple engine, It’s opposed six configuration makes it the smoothest of available power plants. It has outstanding cooling because GM put a tremendous amount of cooling fins on it and  gave it a factory CHT redline of 575F. All of our engine parts are made in the United States.

.

2) Engine and build options:

.

If you are new to Corvairs, lets quickly cover some ground: General  Motors made 1.8 million Corvairs. brand new parts, including billet cranks, forged pistons, valves bearings,  virtually every single part inside is currently made and readily available, and will remain so. Rebuildable Corvair engines are plentiful, and much easier to find that Lycomings or Continentals. We have been working with Corvairs for 25 years, and there is no shortage of core engines or parts. If you doubt this for a second, Google “Corvair engine parts.”

The Corvair makes an outstanding aircraft engine because it is a simple, compact, direct drive, horizontally opposed six cylinder, air cooled engine. It is robust, and ‘flat rated ‘ from it’s automotive output. The engine runs equally well on automotive fuel and 100LL, and it does not care about ethanol. In its 53 year flight history, more than 500 experimental aircraft have flown on Corvair power.

The engine can be built in three dispacements with three respective power outputs. They are 2,700cc / 100HP, 2,850cc / 110HP and 3,000cc / 120HP. The two smaller displacements weigh 230 pounds, the larger actually weighs 8 pounds less because it uses lighter cylinders. All engines are completely rebuilt from very high quality parts before flight. They are not just removed from cars. The parts we use are specifically selected to convert the engine for the rigors of flight use. Forged pistons, Inconel valves, chrome rings, ARP rod bolts and many other components are upgraded in the rebuild.

To absorb the propeller and flight loads a “5th bearing” is added. It is a billet housing with a very large bearing from a V-8, bolted on the end of the case.The ignition is redundant and utilizes two 40,000 volt systems, one driven by digital electronics the size of a match book, the other by a traditional set of points. The engine is direct drive, it has no complex reduction unit. It makes good thrust because it has more than twice the cubic inches of a Rotax 912. All of the systems on the engine are intentionally patterned after those on Lycomings and Continentals, because they are the  model of success in proven aircraft power plants. People who do not acknowledge certified engines as excellent models of success are often just zealots.  To succeed in experimental aviation you need dispassionate information not emotional opinion.

One of the unique features of the Corvair is that it can be built at home, from our information and parts and a locally acquired rebuildable engine, or it can be purchased from us, test run with logs. 90% of current builders are building their own engine at home. Only 10% of the builders opt to have us build their engine. We have happy to serve both builders. In either case, Corvairs are the best match for builders who want to understand and be the master of their engine.

Because of the plans built vs production engine nature of the Corvair, there are large variations in how much builders budgets run. Below is a quick look at the differences. Keep in mind, these budgets are for first class, completely overhauled, zero timed engines with 5th bearings, starting, ignition and charging systems. We have clever builders who have built and flown engines for less than $3,000, but this not representative of main line builders. The numbers below are much better for Zenith builders to budget on.

.

2,700cc / 100HP typical homebuilders budget: $6,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $9,750

2,850cc / 110HP typical homebuilders budget: $7,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $10,750

3,000cc / 120HP typical homebuilders budget: $8,500- Same engine assembled and run from us $11,750

.

If you are attracted to the concept of building your own engine, but have not built motors before, Good.  About half of our builders have never built any kind of an engine before. Our main work is teaching people what we know and providing the parts to work with. Our system does not require anyone to be a machinist nor to have previous engine experience.

The procedure of building an engine in your shop follows this format:

1) Get a conversion manual and DVD’s from us, use them to find a rebuild able core engine locally. Disassemble this engine following the steps in the DVD.

2) Send the crank and heads to our approved facilities for rebuilding and modification. They come back ready to ‘bolt on.’ Other parts of the engine are cleaned and inspected. The parts to convert the engine are ordered from us, many of the standard rebuild parts like lifters and gaskets are available from local auto parts stores. We do not ‘middle man’ anything you can directly buy.

3) Assemble these parts according to the manual and DVDs. There is no machine work required, only basic tools are needed, and a few specialty tools like a torque wrench. Many builders attend our free Corvair Colleges and directly learn hands on skills. You can even bring your parts and assemble them under our supervision, and test run your engine on our equipment. College attendance is a plus, but not required. Our methods work without direct training; a good number of engines are built and flown each year by builders who have never met me in person.

4) The test run serves several purposes. We teach people to build one of  three specific models, and we teach them to use specific parts. Not only are these proven, but it also allows me to verify from a remote location that the engine was assembled correctly. A builder can report his static rpm, CHT, oil temp during the test run with his Warp Drive prop at the specified setting, and I can confirm the output and assembly of the engine without seeing it personally.

If you would like a sample of the information on working your way through the above four steps, get a look at this: Getting Started in 2013, part #1, Crankshaft process options.

I have broken down building a Corvair and installing it on your airframe into 42 “groups”. The previous link is about  ‘Group 1000’ the crankshaft. If you would like to look at every part that goes into a Corvair, along with the conversion parts we sell, look at Groups 1000 -3300 at this link to our catalog: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html

All builders get started with a conversion manual. The first part of the above link is about manuals and DVD’s.  The direct link to the manual is: http://www.flycorvair.com/manual.html. almost all builders looking for a rebuild able engine also order the Disassembly  DVD, which covers core engine selection visually. The direct link to it is: http://www.flycorvair.com/videov.html We encourage everyone to get started with information, even if you are pretty sure you would like to purchase a production engine from us. If you eventually buy an engine from us, we directly reduce the price to rebate all the money you spent on manuals and DVD’s.

.

———————————————–

a) – Corvair Weight story: Corvair vs O-200…. weight comparison

b) –  Samples of our production engines:  2012 Corvair Engines For Sale: 100, 110 and 120 HP

c) – For an explanation of ‘flat rating’ and a Zenith engine build : Shop perspective: Mastery or ?

d) – A story about engines running on our hangar Dyno: http://www.flycorvair.com/thrust.html

e) Engine of builder now working on Zenith airframe: World’s Strongest 3,000cc Corvair, built by Greg Crouchley

f)  2.700cc engine we built for Becky Shipman’s 650: Shipman Engine at CC#22

g) A story about the evolution on 120HP Corvairs: 3,000 vs 3,100 cc Corvair engines.

.

Above, a 2009 photo from our workshop. I kneel in the workshop next to motor mount Number 100. This sounds like a lot, but I made the first one in 2003 for our own 601 XL.  Most experimental aircraft companies, both large and small, fail because for two simple reasons; First, the ownership cannot physically make the product the sell, and second, their financial backers are unwilling to go several years before seeing the payoff.  We succeeded because I am a craftsman first, and can make all the parts in the catalog, and we have never had, and would not accept having any partners nor investors. The Blue fixture is the one we use for the 601/650.

.

3) Installation Components for the 601/650:

.

We provide every single part it takes to install a Corvair in your 601/650.  You can buy them one at a time, or all at once. Our Zenith 601/650 installation, which has been successfully flying for a decade, is a long proven system that has only seen a few very minor detail evolutions. Our Zenith installation manual detail how and why each of the installation components are installed on your airframe.

The installation does not require any modification to the airframe fuel system like most EFI engines do.  Being air cooled and carbureted, it is one of the easiest engines to install. Many companies that are good at selling things are poor at teaching things, like how to install their products. Teaching is the very cornerstone of my work, I am a skilled writer, we run Corvair Colleges, and we have a simple engine. All this adds up to a comparitively easy engine to install. There is no need to rush it, but I can do it working in one long day.

 Installation part numbers are Groups 3400 through 4300 in the second half of our numbering system. Get a look at this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html From that list, you can see that the major installation parts for a 601/650 are: #3601(S) intake manifold, #3901(A) Stainless exhaust, #4002 spinner bulkhead, #4003 Warp Drive prop, #4101 baffle kit, #4102 nose bowl, #4103 cowl kit and a #4201(A) mount. The other smaller items listed are detail in our Zenith installation manual. All of the above parts have links to stories through the products page.

Many people new to building initially think that very economical engines like the Corvair must also be inexpensive to install. In reality, the cost of items like motor mounts and cowls are not affected by the cost of the engine they mount and house.  A mount for a $30K UL-350 and a $7K Corvair have about the same amount to tubing and welding time in them, and thus cost about the same. Most engines for Zeniths have installation kits that run from $4,000 to $6,000. The Corvair is near the bottom of this range, but the savings of using the Corvair is in the engine, not the cost of installing it. Builders can save a significant amount of money by fabricating many of the parts like #4103, but most people are near the finish line at that point and opt to buy it and save the time. Exact cost on the installation parts varies a bit, I will be glad to review it with builders after they study the installation manual.

—————————————–

a) – For an example of 74 years of aircraft welding talent: Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A)

b) – To learn about the Stainless exhausts we make: Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems

c) – Louis Kantor’s 601XL running for the first time in our front yard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=626uwVbc0gM

d) – The same aircraft on its first take off, from our airport. July 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSadGnsvmFc

.

Above, 2004 at Oshkosh: Next to our personal Zenith N-1777W, I explain our dual ignition arrangement two executives from Falcon insurance, The EAA’s provider. To offer real support, an alternative engine provider must be an effective advocate for his builders on many fronts, including meeting the requirements of underwriters. Just being an engine guru is not nearly enough. Corvair engines that follow our design,  including to ones assembled by builders, are fully insurable at the lowest rates, right from the first flight, because they have an outstanding safety record. Having good effective hands on support is a critical element in this outstanding record.

.

4) Support for Builders:

.

Beyond the basic engine and installation components, we offer many forms of support to Zenith builders:

.

a) We have a very detailed Installation manual for all Zeniths: http://www.flycorvair.com/601im.html We also have a flight operations manual with specific test flight plans and procedures: http://www.flycorvair.com/ops09.html

.

 b) we hold 4 free hands on technical seminars called “Corvair Colleges” every year. This includes an annual College held in Mexico MO at the Zenith Factory timed to coincide with the factory open house in September. For an introduction to Colleges, read this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/cc21.html  An overview of upcoming colleges is at this link:  Upcoming events, Airshows and Colleges #26-28. If you would like to see video of a College, here is a link to Corvair College #17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfa85e3ibI4&playnext=1&list=PL1D40A102EC2A194D&feature=results_video

.

c) The “Zenvair” group is a separate on-line peer-to-peer discussion group just for Corvair/Zenith flyers to directly and freely share information and data with each other in a civilized productive format. The link is : ‘Zenvair’ Information board formed  This is very effectively moderated by Zenith/Corvair builder and flyer Phil Maxson who’s 601 is pictured at the top of this page.

.

d) Woody Harris, subject of this story:  Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris Is our west coast representative. Although we have held 5 Corvair Colleges in California, including 2 at Zeniths west coast facility Quality sport planes,  we only make one trip to the west per year. Woody covers all the shows and events from Arlington to Copper State when we can’t be there.

.

e) I am the last guy in aviation who still makes free house calls. Over the years I have made more than 400 in person visits builders projects. I travel extensively, and go out of my way to include builders workshops on these trips.  These stops and the colleges allow me to really understand the needs, strengths and dreams of rank and file builders that no one can read in email or at an airshow. for a sample, read this story: Corvair House Call, Range: 335 miles.

.

f)  By my continued advocacy and industry relations, Corvairs have full insurance, at the lowest rates, available from a number of sources. If you would like to find out more Contact Bob Mackey, VP of Falcon insurance, The EAA’s designated provider, seen on the left in the photo above.

.

g) Over the years, we have built a very tight knit community of like minded builders. If you read this story about fools at our county airport: A visit to the insane asylum, and it sounds like your airport, and if your local EAA chapter is devoid of homebuilders and filled with negative people, you will find the Corvair movement to be a powerful antidote. Many Corvair builders catch several colleges a year, there they find positive, outgoing, energetic builders, effectively making the Colleges their “local EAA chapter” We have worked very hard to attract outstanding people interested in accomplishing their goals. I  go out of my way to encourage new builders but I am intolerant of people who are compulsively negative. I am willing to be a cheerleader, but not a therapist.

.

——————————————

Above is Rich Whittington’s fabulous looking 601 HDS at Corvair College #21. Our Conversion Parts work with all models of the 601 and  the 650. One of the things I respect about Rich is his outspoken honesty. He started out with a criminally poor 2,700 made by a rip off artist in GA. To prevent other builders from making a similar mistake, he wrote a number of comments on this on Zenith Builders and flyers page. His second engine was a standard installation matched with a 3,000cc engine his is very pleased with.

.

5) Examples of flying Corvair Powered Zenith 601s and 650s:

.

In 2011, I wrote up a quick list of flying Zeniths, Since then a number have been added, but this list is a good beginning point, it has date of first flight and the N-number of these aircraft. Click on this link:  List of Corvair Powered Zeniths

If you would like to get a look at pictures and short notes on a number of 601/650’s, click on this story link:

16 Flying Corvair powered Zenith 601/ 650s

Below are a number of stories about flying planes.  We get a steady flow of new flyers Like Jerry Baak and Pat Hoyt, whos names are not on the first list:

 A really nice 2700cc tail wheel XL:  New Zenith 601 XL(B), Conventional Gear, Jerry Baak, S.C.

Good looking 2,700cc plane in FL, story is about a house call: Flying 2700 cc Zenith 601 XL(B), Alan Uhr

Very nice looking 650, links to movies of plane: Zenith 650-2700cc Dave Gardea

Our west Coast rep, Woody’s plane: Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris also read the story: Woody’s 2,850cc Corvair/601XL hits 400 hours.

A plane seen at Brodhead, Oshkosh and the Zenith open house in 2013: Patrick Hoyt, new Zenith 601XL, now flying, N-63PZ

Story from the moderator of our “Zenvair” discussion group: Guest writer: Phil Maxson, flying a 3100cc Corvair in his 601XL

Story on a long time member of the Corvair Community: 601XL-2700cc Dr. Gary Ray

Story on a 500 hour 601 Tail Wheel aircraft: Zenith 601XL-3100cc Dr. Andy Elliott

———————————————–

Above, Making a house call in California to Larry Winger’s. His engine ran at Corvair College #18. Larry’s aircraft is a magnificent 650, built from plans, not a kit. The aircraft has since been completed and has been moved to the Chino airport. Larry exemplifies many of the finest qualities in homebuilding. When he started the project, he had never built an engine, a plane and was not yet a pilot. He has since accomplished all three.

.

6) Examples of Builders working on this Combination:

.

Many experimental aircraft companies like to tout how many of their product has sold as a measure of  success. Sales numbers on only a measure of their success, not that of builders. The only number that counts are how many builders that make it all the way to flying and enjoying their creation. It is a fact of marketing that it is far easier to keep finding new buyers to spend money than it is to support the ones that already spent the money, all the way through flight.  This is why many aircraft LLC’s have planned lifespans of only 48 months, so they make all the sales and fold up the tent before they have to do the real work of supporting builders.

We are very different. I have been supporting Zenith builders for a decade, but I have been working with Corvair builders since 1989. I am in this for the long haul, and my measure of success is getting people flying. We have many people working on Corvair powered 601s and 650s. In the first 10 years, we build and sold about 160 motor mounts for the combination. I didn’t make them just to have something to sell, I made them so that each builder would have a good shot at completing and flying his plane. I will be here long enough to support each of those builders in completing their plane. If you select a Corvair engine, I will be your ally in completing your plane, just as I have been for many others before you.

If your goal is to merely buy something, you need only find a salesman with an engine to sell. If your goal is to learn about, understand, build and fly your plane, you need an instructor-guide-mentor, an aviator not a salesman. Think it over: If your goal was to climb mount Everest, there would be plenty of people you could buy equipment from, but that isn’t the same thing as finding a Sherpa who has been to the top to act as your instructor and guide.  A big part of why experimental aircraft have a 20% completion rate is that most people purchasing a kit or an engine have not spent 3 minutes learning how to differentiate between a salesman and a guide.

Below are a sample of our builders, each of whom I am going to see all the way through their aircraft finished and flying:

.

Nice guy who has been to many Corvair Colleges: Jim Waters 601XL-B project, “In The Arena,” Memorial Day 2013.

Our oldest builder in action :Dick Otto in California, S.R.B. (Senior Ranking Builder)

A letter from the same builder: Mail Sack – Letter of the month – Dick Otto, 601XL Calif.

A 2,700cc break in run on a 90% complete airframe: Weekend Double Header, 2nd engine of the year, Rick Koch

———————————————-

.

7) Operational Data for this combination:

If you would like to read a story about detailed flight data collection on a 2,850cc 750, check out this link: CHT part #5, flight data from Zenith 750 . It is an example of the type of information exchanged on our ‘Zenvair’ group.  If you are attracted to a builders group that is made of intelligent thinking people, you will fit right in with Corvair builders.

If you would like a single example to effectively demonstrate that I am an aviator not a salesman, it is the type of data that I discuss with builders. No salesmen will acknowledge accidents nor difficulties that involved their products, even circumstantially.

Conversely, I am here to teach people what they need to know. I have a long history of writing about subjects that salesmen wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I write about accidents and friends I have lost, honest mistakes people made and things you can learn from them.  Just about everything know in aviation cost someone dearly to learn. If you are unwilling to talk about these things in plain language, people are doomed to repeat them.

.

Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place. is the story of our only fatal accident in a Corvair powered Zenith. (There is another below, but it was a different company) The NTSB pointed to an incorrectly assembled carb, but read the story and decide if judgment isn’t the root cause.

“If only someone had told him……” is a story about people who don’t listen. Guy A and Guy B were both Zenith 601 builders. Guy B was the passenger in the First 650 accident (AMD airframe- O-200 engine, ruled pilot error). Guy A was a well known and liked Zenith builder and flyer, who quit aviation after this incident.

Risk Management, Factor #1, Judgement. Covers how developing and exercising judgment is paramount to managing your own personal risk.

Risk Management, Experience vs Judgement. Ken Terry was a friend of mine and a huge influence on Grace’s flying, and her development as a pilot. The story is about how experience, even 40,000 hours of it is not a defense compared to exercising good judgment.

587930

Dan Weseman and Dave Dollarhide having a good time at Sun n Fun 2013. They both are in the last story “Friday night” in the link “Three aviation stories”.

.

 Three Aviation Stories  covers my personal perspective on risk, and what level is worth managing, and how aviators come do deal with this. It speaks of meeting Al Haynes at two points in my life, 14 years and a world of experience apart. It also covers how several members of our EAA chapter each looked at loosing two friends.

.

——————————————-

Above, A photo taken at Sun n Fun 2006. My wife Grace Ellen and myself, in front of the first Corvair powered Zenith, our own N-1777W. The plane was the first XL model with conventional gear.  Grace is a skilled pilot in her own right. She has been a pilot longer than I have, holds more advanced ratings and owns two aircraft. As a point of ethics, we do not promote, advocate nor sell things we have not personally flown behind.

.

8) Who is William Wynne?

Modern consumer sales logic dictates that that business should ‘de-personalize’ themselves so consumers find nothing objectionable about the provider while they are spending money.  That model may work elsewhere, and even have advocates experimental aviation, but I don’t buy it.  I contend that Aviation is a different arena, and who you are dealing with, and their ethics, experience and perspective matters.

Building a plane or an engine is a marriage of sorts between the builder and his airframe or engine company. I believe that it is best if everyone goes into it well informed with their eyes wide open. I am always surprised how few people even Google the name of a person they are thinking of working with. You don’t need to see eye to eye with them on every point nor even love them, but the relationship must absolutely have trust and respect operating in both directions. In 25 years I have seen many builders try to justify buying a product from a provider they didn’t really trust. It never works out. It doesn’t matter how good it looks, what it costs or how great it is supposed to work, if it is from a bad guy, it isn’t worth buying.

I could write a quick paragraph about how I am a pilot, a 22 year A&P mechanic, and that I hold both an AS degree in Maintenance and a BS in Professional Aeronautics (accident investigation) From the worlds #1 aeronautical university, Embry-Riddle , but I don’t think that any of that explains my commitment to builders nearly as well as the flying planes of our builders and things we have accomplished. Henry Ford said “A man can not base his reputation on what he says he will do; only what he has done.”

I am plain spoken. to understand why, read the ‘Effective Risk Management’ story below. I have many friends who are experienced aviators who value plain talk. This type of speech also tends to offend people who dabble in aviation and would rather read polite things that align with their pet opinions. I am in aviation to share experience builders need to know, not say things people want to hear. Below are a selection of stories, some humorous, but all with a point, that give people a better understanding of who I am. From there you can decide if you choose to work with me as your engine mentor.

.

a) Fixing America is going to cost each of us $1.69

b) Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

c) In defense of plain speaking……

d) Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

e) A thought on Easter….

f) Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

g) Effective Risk Management – 2,903 words

.

—————————————————————————————.

.

9) Notes on trash from Bankrupt LLC’s:

Not all things called a Corvair represent my work or designs. Over the years, our success and willingness to share information has brought out a number of short lived LLC’s that were run by rip off artists, and mentally ill people. Particularly, there have been four businesses that made poor copies of our parts or untested garbage. All of these are bankrupt today. Because they were LLC’s they could take peoples money without any liability to repay it. Today, I have just heard that another is coming back with a new name. The story will never end as long as people don’t do their home work or believe that they are getting a bargain. You can read about one of these companies at this link: Cloudn’t have happened to a nicer guy……

I warn people all the time not to buy things from these people, or to buy this stuff at the flymart. For examples of things no one should have bought, look at this story: Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?

Let me be absolutely clear, that I will be polite to people, but I will not work on, offer advice on, or help with products made by bankrupt people that I considered vermin. If you have one of the engines from these LLC’s you are out of luck. I will not allow you to join our ‘Zenvair’ group nor will I allow you to attend any of the Colleges. This isn’t out of spite, it is to protect these builders lives. They all want to put a band aid on their bad purchase and make it “good enough to fly.” A band aid isn’t going to do it, an amputation is in order. People who blew $12K on Junk don’t want to hear this, they are still looking for a cheap out that doesn’t exist.  I will not assist them in the delusion that they have found one.

The Zenith Builders and flyers website has a small number of old posts from people who bought trash like this for their projects. If you look closely, these people offered great testimonials, but later abandoned their builds. On the same sites, I have builders like Larry Winger and Rich Whittington sharing that the same people took their money and delivered trash. Some people still don’t do their home work.

:)